Budget 2017: SHGs hail more funds for women, children schemes

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with MoS Arjun Ram Meghwal arrives at Parliament to present the Union Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI2_1_2017_000179b)

Women activists, credit societies and self-help groups have welcomed the Union government’s decision to increase the allocation for women and children welfare from Rs 1.56 lakh crore to Rs 1.84 lakh crore.

“For welfare of women and children under various schemes across ministries, I have stepped up allocation from Rs 1,56,528 crore of 2016-17 to Rs 1,84,633 crore in 2017-18,” said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Budget 2017-18 in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The finance minister said ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ begins with girls and women. He said the government would set up Mahila Shakti Kendras at village level in 14 lakh anganwadi centres with a Rs 500 crore.

Welcoming the move, women’s activist Sanjeevani Pandey said, “The finance minister has clearly laid emphasis on uplifting the lives of womenfolk. The move to set up Mahila Shatki Kendras in villages will help empower the hapless women in lakhs of villages across the country,” she said.

Anita Landge of Damini Bachat Gat said, “The budget allocation for enhancing the skills of women is a welcome move. However, the budget has not specified what exactly is going to happen… maybe we will come to know in coming days.”

Geetha Kannan, managing director of The Anita Borg Institute India, said, “If the government has to fulfill its promise of creating 100 million jobs by 2022, it will have to aggressively push for empowerment of women at all levels. The announcement that the government will provide one-stop convergence support system for skill development for women in rural areas is a step in the right direction. The three main agendas of the budget — Transform, Energise, Clean India (TECIndia), which the Finance Minister mentioned — will happen only when women form an integral part of all economic activity, beginning with education, skill development and job creation.”