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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014
Govt renews focus on women, announces Nirbhaya fund in budget
Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 28, 2013
First Published: 19:39 IST(28/2/2013)
Last Updated: 19:43 IST(28/2/2013)

Finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram's 2013-14 budget speech would perhaps best be remembered for mentioning "women" 24 times throughout his entire 95 minute presentation.

The thrust on the fair sex is also an indication of the UPA - II government's priority ahead of the 2014 elections. For, last year when Pranab Mukherjee presented the budget, he had mentioned "women" just eight times.

In a first of its kind initiative to empower India's women and keep them safe and secure, Chidambaram announced setting up of a special Rs. 1,000 crore fund, aptly named "Nirbhaya" in memory of the December 16 gangrape victim.    

Coming in the backdrop of the nationwide protest witnessed in the aftermath of the incident and a little ahead of the 2014 elections, the move is being seen by political analysts as an attempt by the UPA-II government to renew its women focus and bolster measures for their safety and security.

The Women & Child Development (WCD) along with other stakeholder ministries will soon finalize the details of the structure, scope and the application of the fund.

In fact, women and children were one of the key focuses of Chidambaram's final full budget before 2014. Hefty allocations and a slew of initiatives were announced to uplift the condition of women and children.

While the overall gender budget spanning different ministries has also been hiked to Rs. 97,134 crore in 2013-14 from Rs. 88,142 crore in 2012-13, the child budget has been increased to Rs. 77,236 crore from Rs. 71,028 crore.

Donations made to the National Children's Fund will now be eligible for 100% deduction.

Bowing to the growing clamour from citizens, law makers and politicians for bolstering measures on women safety, Chidambaram also allocated an additional Rs. 200 crore to the WCD ministry for implementing schemes designed specifically for protecting women from gender discrimination and violence.

These include setting up the "One Stop Crisis Centre" to provide all kind of support - from medical to legal -- to victims of rape and assault and launching a compensation scheme for rape victims among others.

An allocation of Rs. 18 crore has also been made to launch the long talked about helpline for women in distress. The overall budget of the WCD ministry was also hiked by 10% in 2013-14 budget - to Rs. 20,440 crore from Rs. 18,584 crore in 2012-13.

However, the slew of women centric initiatives has failed to impress activists.

"The underlining gender centric focus is sheer tokenism, nothing else. They have not been thought through properly. The Rs. 1000 crore fund for instance is hardly enough to create proper infrastructure to ensure women's safety and security," said Ranjana Kumari, president, Women's Power Connect, a coalition of women's organization.

A bulk of WCD's allocation - Rs. 17,700 crore -- has been earmarked for Integrated Child Development Services, a crucial program to monitor health and nutrition of children in the 0-6 age group and lactating mothers.

Besides, another Rs. 300 crore was allocated to implement the multi-sectoral nutrition program in 100 districts during 2013-14.


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Highlights: Budget 2013  »

  • Expect higher revenue next year: Chidambaram
  • Unclear what the expense on food subsidies be at this stage: Chidambaram
  • Fuel subsidy likely to be lower this year: Chidambaram
  • Immediate goal is to achieve growth rate of 6%: Chidambaram
  • We have to be patient and wait for the economy to pick up: Chidambaram
  • We have not put impossible burdens on people: Chidambaram
  • The only way to contain current account deficit is to increase exports: Chidambaram
  • Confident that RBI will do it's part: Chidambaram
  • Economy is challenged in a number of ways: Chidambaram
  • This is a lollypop election budget: CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta
  • Budget has ignored SC/ST: Mayawati
  • Budget will only benefit industrialists, not common man: Mayawati
  • Budget will give impetus to Bihar's demand for special status: Nitish Kumar
  • FM has taken important steps to reverse pessimistic mood with regard to our economy: PM
  • There is need to convert challenges into opportunities: PM
  • The Finance Minister has done a commendable job: PM
  • Direct Benefit Transfer scheme to be rolled out
  • Ships and vessels exempted from excise duty
  • Direct tax code to be introduced in budget session of the Parliament
  • Set-top box import duty hiked
  • Gold duty limit raised to Rs. 50,000 for men; Rs. 1 lakh for women
  • 100% customs duty on luxury cars
  • Increase in import duty on high end bikes from 75% to 100%
  • 6% duty on mobile phones worth more than Rs. 2000
  • Excise duty on cigarette, cigar and cheeroot increased by 18%
  • Import duty on raw silk hiked to 15%
  • Luxury imported items to cost more
  • Donations to National Children's fund will be eligible for 100% tax deduction
  • No plans to revise direct taxes
  • No change in customs and excise duty
  • Tax credit of Rs. 2000 for those with income upto Rs. 5 lakh
  • Education cess at 3%
  • donations to be tax free
  • Surcharge of 10% on individuals, companies whose income is above Rs. 1 crore per year
  • No revision in tax slabs
  • Planned expenditure to be 33% of total expenditure
  • Rs. 1,000 crore allocated to women safety fund
  • Defence budget allocation increased to Rs. 2 lakh crore
  • Insurance and pension funds can now directly invest in debt funds
  • Domestic workers, Anganwadi workers, others to get group insurance
  • 13 public sector banks to get Rs. 14,000 crore
  • Propose to provide Rs. 14,000 cr for capital infusion in public sector banks
  • Inflation indexed bonds and NSCs to be introduced
  • JNNURM is being continued in the 12th Plan; Rs. 14,873 cr to be provided to the Mission
  • Rs. 33,000 crore to be allocated to MNREGA
  • Rs. 6000 crore for rural housing fund, Rs. 2000 cr for urban housing fund
  • Two new ports to be built in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh
  • All towns having population of 10,000 to get LIC office
  • Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna to be extended to rickshaw pullers and rag pickers
  • List of eligible securities will be enlarged: Chidambaram
  • SEBI to simplify procedures for entry of foreign portfolio investors in India: Chidambaram
  • India's first all-women public sector bank to be set up
  • All public sector bank branches to have ATMs
  • Focus on modernisation of powerloom sector
  • Propose to continue with the technology upgradation, funds scheme for textile sector: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 1650 cr allocated for AIIMS like institutes
  • Natural gas pricing policy will be reviewed: Chidambaram
  • Person taking home loan for the first time to get tax cut of Rs. 1 lakh
  • Regulatory authority to be set up for road sector
  • Rs. 17,700 crore to be allocated for Integrated Child Development Scheme
  • Rs. 5000 cr allocated to NABARD
  • Income level of Rajiv Gandhi equity schemes increased by Rs. 2 lakh
  • Rs. 80, 194 crore allocated for rural development: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 25,000 cr to be raised through tax free bonds: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 10,000 crore for food security bill promised by UPA: Chidambaram
  • Infrastructure debt fund to be encouraged: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 37,330 cr allocated to ministry of health and family welfare: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 41,000 allocated for scheduled caste welfare: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 27,49 cr to be allocated to the agriculture ministry: Chidambaram
  • Plan expenditure in 12th Five Year Plan revised to Rs. 14,30,825 cr or 96% of budgeted expenditure
  • Scholarships for students from SC/ST, minority communities: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 110 cr to be allocated to department of disability: Chidambaram
  • Increased allocation for safe drinking water and sanitation: Chidambaram
  • Increased allocation for mid-day meal schemes: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 65,000 cr allocation for education schemes: Chidambaram
  • Rs. 110 cr to be allocated to department of disability: Chidambaram
  • Need $ 75 billion to bridge current account deficit: Chidambaram
  • 2013-14 budget has sub-plans for SC, ST, youth and women: Chidambaram
  • Foreign investment imperative for growth: Chidambaram
  • Our economy has slowed down after 2010: Chidambaram
  • No choice but to cut spendings to control inflation: Chidambaram
  • China and Indonesia are growing faster than India: Chidambaram
  • Getting back to 8% growth is a challenge for country: Chidambaram
  • Our goal is higher growth: Chidambaram
  • Between 2004-2008 and again in 2009-10, 2010-11 the growth rate was over 8%: Chidambaram
  • P Chidambaram begins budget address in Lok Sabha
  • Cabinet endorses Union Budget 2013-14, to be presented in Parliament shortly.
  • Finance minister P Chidambaram reaches North Block.
  • Chidambaram set to present India's 82nd national budget.
  • Today's Union Budget will be Chidambaram's eighth personal exercise.
  • It's two short of the record of 10 set by former PM Morarji Desai.
  • Since Independence, the country has seen a total of 25 ministers hold the finance portfolio.
  • India has also seen budgets - 65 normal annual budgets, 12 interim budgets and four mini-budgets.
  • Morarji Desai presented eight normal and two interim budgets.
  • Thursday will see Chidambaram equal the eight-budget track record of Pranab Mukherjee.
  • Chidambaram will surpass Yashwant Sinha, YB Chavan and CD Deshmukh who all presented seven budgets each.
  • PM Manmohan Singh and TT Krishnamachari have presented six budgets each.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi have presented one budget each.
  • Sensex closed up more than half a percent a day before the union budget 2013-14
  • It will be the eighth such personal exercise for him
  • Chidambaram set to present India's 82nd national budget in Lok Sabha

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