New Delhi: India on Thursday hiked the budgetary allocation of the women and child development ministry with the focus clearly on safety and education of the girl child and security of women.
The allocation for the women and child development ministry was increased from Rs.182 billion to Rs.211 billion this year.
Presenting his maiden budget to parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley launched a special scheme called 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana (save and educate the daughter)'.
"It is a shame that while the country has emerged as a major player amongst the emerging market economies, the apathy towards the girl child is still quite rampant in many parts of the country," he said, adding that the new scheme would be a focused scheme which would help in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
The finance minister allocated a sum of Rs.1 billion for the new scheme.
He also announced introduction of a special small savings instrument to meet the requirements of education and marriage of the girl child.
Jaitley said the government would focus on campaigns to sensitize people of the country towards the concerns of the girl child and women.
"The process of sensitization must begin early, therefore, the school curriculum must have a separate chapter on gender mainstreaming."
For enhanced security of women, Jaitley said Rs.500 million will be spent by road transport and highways ministry on a pilot scheme on "Safety for Women on Public Road Transport".
A further Rs.1,500 million will be spent by the home ministry on a scheme to increase the safety of women in large cities.
"It is also proposed to set up 'Crisis Management Centres' in all the districts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi this year in all government and private hospitals. The funding will be provided from the Nirbhaya Fund," the finance minister announced.
The Nirbhaya Fund was announced by the previous Congress-led government focussing on women's safety with a corpus of Rs.10 billion. It was created in the memory of a young woman who died after she has been brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in the Indian capital.