Interim Budget 2024: Funds For Women's Empowerment, Security & Anganwadi Schemes Slashed, States Report

Interim Budget 2024: Funds For Women's Empowerment, Security & Anganwadi Schemes Slashed, States Report

The interim budget dangles between promises and silence on major women-centric issues

Mariyam UsmaniUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 11:46 AM IST
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Nirmala Sitharaman |

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has underlined women's empowerment themes during her 58-minute interim budget speech. After a brief note on 'Viksit Bharat', people-centric inclusive development, Garib Kalyan, the welfare of farmers, and youth empowerment, she has addressed women-centric themes and schemes for the next fiscal period, but the presented data is quite distressing for women-security issues and Anganwadi workers.

The Budget 2024–25 has decreased the amount for several grants to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and is stagnant on contributions to UNICEF. However, the National Commission for Women has hailed the Mission Shakti project, but the presented data depicts no growth in Nirbhaya Funds.

As the 'Outlay on Major Schemes' infers, the Budget estimates for 'Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 (Umbrella ICDS-Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls)' are Rs 21,200 crore, while the revised budget estimates of the previous fiscal year were Rs 21,523 crores for the same. Similarly, the revised estimated budget for women's security schemes was 1008 crore in FY 2023–24, which has now shrunk to 955 crore.

We must not forget that women's security is one of the most crucial issues in India. In the 'Women, Peace, and Security Index', India ranks 148 in the row of 170 countries. Also, the protest of 2 lakh Anganwadi workers for better pay and pension has grabbed tons of eyeballs in the current mainstream. Although the increased participation of women in the academic sector is one of the major highlights, there is nothing to offer to diminish the educational discrimination women and girls face on an everyday basis.

After the Budget highlights, the discussion around Lakhpati Didis, STEM courses, and Mudra Yojna is receiving abundant appreciation, but the silence on the most blistering questions of security and growth is gruesome.

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