The Union budget has put aside a total of ₹28,600 crore for programmes specifically aimed at women said the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday while presenting the budget. She spoke about the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign and other schemes in the country.

Finance Minister Sitharaman said the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme had yielded ‘tremendous’ results. “Gross enrolment ratio of girls across all levels of education is now higher than boys,” she noted. “Gross enrolment ratio of girls across all levels of education is higher than boys. At elementary level it is 94.32% for girls against 89.28% for boys. In higher secondary girls are 59% plus while boys are at 57%.”

Budget And Women: Nirmala Sitharaman announces programs aimed at women

Speaking on different measures targeted at women, she said women were a priority. She reflects on their contribution to the economic process but didn’t specifically identify how. She did focus some of her announcements on pregnant and lactating women.

Also Read: Is Beti Bachao Beti Padhao A Publicity Gimmick?

Health of mother and child are correlated. Pregnant women, lactating mothers and others are benefiting from poshan abhiyaan (2017-18) said Sitharaman. More than 6,00,000 angadwadi workers are now equipped with smart phones to share status of health in their areas of monitoring.

As India progresses further opportunities open up for women to embrace them. Entire issue of age of girls entering motherhood needs to be seen in this light. Sitharaman proposed to introduce a task force to study marriage age to reduced MMR. “Women’s age of marriage was increased from 15 years to 18 years in 1978 by amending erstwhile Sharda Act. of 1929. As India progresses further opportunities open up for women to pursue higher educational careers. There are imperatives of lowering maternal mortality rate as well as improvement of nutritional levels.”

Sitharaman said a total of ₹35,600 crore had been allocated for nutrition-related programmes.

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