Arun Jaitley gave a Rs 1,000 crore boost to women safety in his budget but slashed overall allocation for the women and child development ministry by a staggering 51%.
Bolstering women’s safety continued to be high on the government’s priority list with the finance minister proposing an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to the “Nirbhaya” fund, launched by the previous UPA government in memory of the 23-year-old medical student who was brutally gangraped in New Delhi on 16 December 2012.
The ministry’s overall allocation went down to Rs 10,382 crore in 2015-16 as against Rs 21,193 crore in 2014-15. The cut, senior ministry officials said, has been on account of government restructuring the existing centrally sponsored schemes following the 14th Finance Commission recommendation of higher devolution of funds to states.
A host of schemes run by the ministry, including the Integrated Child Development Services, a crucial centrally-sponsored programme to monitor health and nutrition of children in the 0-6 age group, has been modified with Rs 8,245 crore allocated directly to the states under the scheme.
An additional Rs 100 crore was allocated for PM Modi’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” programme.