The Planning Commission has refused to fund — thus, virtually spiked —President Pratibha Patil’s plan to set up a National Mission for Empowerment of Women.
The commission recently told the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry that it would not be able to allocate the Rs 7,500 crore (Rs 75 billion) sought for the mission.
The Planning Commission, an institution headed by the Prime Minister, formulates the country’s five-year plans and allocates funds for different schemes.
Deputy chairperson of the commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia also told the WCD Ministry officials that there was already enough money under different schemes for women. He was apprehensive whether launching new schemes without implementing the
existing ones would help.
The ministry earlier proposed in a draft concept note finalised in August 2009 that the mission implement the Rs 7,500-crore schemes during the next five years.
The mission’s concept note proposed schemes to provide social security to non-working women, loan subsidy to poor women to start small business and grant to destitute women and girl children.
A Planning Commission member, who did not wish to be identified, said there was already enough money allocated for women-specific schemes. He said, “We have told the WCD Ministry to seek funds from 14 social sector ministries that have women specific schemes.”
The task of the mission, which was recommended by a governors’ committee set up by the President, is to monitor programmes being implemented by the 14 ministries. President Patil announced the setting up of the mission during her Parliamentary address in June.