Decline in Centre’s funds for key women-centric schemes in 2018
The Ujjawala scheme, for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and repatriation of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation saw a decline in funding too — from ₹2,450.54 lakh the previous financial year to ₹523.72 lakh thus far in 2018-19.
Central assistance for key women-centric schemes has seen a decline in 2018-19, largely because of poor implementation by the states.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP), saw nearly a 100% increase in allocation of funds, parliament was informed last week.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) was launched by Modi in January, 2015, in Panipat, Haryana, as one of the flagship programmes of the Government, to address the skewed gender ratio in many parts of the country and to also empower young women.
According to information provided by the women and child development ministry in the Lok Sabha on 14 December, funds released for BBBP by the central government increased from ₹3,318.42 lakh in 2017-18 to ₹6,876.67 lakh thus far this year.
Schemes such as Swadhar Greh Scheme, which is aimed at providing relief and rehabilitation to destitute women and women in distress, saw a decline in funds released by the Centre. The funds released for the scheme declined from ₹5,717.1 lakh in the previous financial year to ₹755.43 lakh so far this year.
“Swadhar Greh Scheme has become a centrally sponsored scheme and funds are released to the state governments/Union Territories for further disbursement to the implementing agencies w.e.f. 01.04.2016. Subsequent instalments are released only after receipt of Utilization Certificate and Statement of Expenditure of previous grants. Due to non receipt of requisite documents/information, funds were not released for second instalment for 2016-17, 2017-18 and first instalment for the year 2018-19,” an official from WCD ministry said.
An inquiry committee appointed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) recently found physically challenged women in Swadhar Grehs (shelter homes) living in terrible conditions.
Across 26 Swadhar Grehs in West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, the committee found that women were physically tortured and that facilities to treat mentally challenged women were absent. There are 559 such homes across India.
“Based on the inquiry report submitted by NCW, the WCD ministry has directed all state governments to initiate swift measures to ensure that Swadhar Greh home residents lead their life with dignity,” the ministry said on Monday.
Another scheme known as Ujjawala, for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and repatriation of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation saw a decline in funding too — from ₹2,450.54 lakh the previous financial year to ₹523.72 lakh thus far in 2018-19.
Officials attributed this too to delays by state governments.
“As per revised Ujjawala Scheme guidelines w.e.f. 01.04.2016, the scheme is to be implemented through the state governments. The grant could not be released to the State Governments due to pending Statement of expenditure, Utilization Certification along with Physical Progress Report from state governments to release the grant for year 2018-19 despite multiple letters, DO letters and reminders sent by this ministry,” the official cited in the first instance added.
Most states have not been able to utilise the amount already released and did not request for a second instalment of the grant, the official said.
“States are requesting this ministry to revalidate the unspent amount to utilise the same in current financial year 2018-19 and this amount is not reflected in the release amount. This Ministry will release the funds under Swadhar Greh and Ujjawala schemes as soon as requisite documents are received from the States,” the official added.