Government focuses on dignity and safety of women

The government proposes to increase the grant to the Nirbhaya Fund by Rs. 1,000 crore and make it a permanent, non-lapsable fund.

Announcing this in the interim budget, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the government had approved two proposals that would receive support from the Nirbhaya Fund announced in the Budget for 2013-14.

“In order to make it clear that the fund will be a permanent fund, I intend to declare the grant of Rs. 1,000 crore as non-lapsable. And in order to support more proposals, I propose to contribute to the fund another sum of Rs. 1,000 crore next year,” he said.

The proposals earmark Rs. 97,533 crore for gender budgeting and Rs. 81,024 crore for child budgeting.

The Finance Minister accepted the request of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that services provided by cord blood banks were healthcare services and should be exempted from service tax.

On the programme to train millions of young men and women through its ambitious National Skill Development Corporation, Mr. Chidambaram said the National Skill Certification and Monetary Reward Scheme launched last August had been widely hailed as a success. “I propose to transfer another Rs. 1,000 crore next year to enable the trust to scale up the programme rapidly,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Aadhaar, DBT

Describing Aadhaar as a tool of empowerment, the Finance Minister said the government was fully committed to it under which 57 crore unique numbers had been issued so far. Bank accounts were being opened for all Aadhaar holders to promote financial inclusion. “It is those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, the poor, the migrant workers, the homeless, and the oppressed who need Aadhaar, and we will ensure that they get Aadhaar,” he said while promising that the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme would be rolled out throughout the country.

He said Aadhaar was a tool of empowerment, and that a sum of Rs. 3,370 crore has been transferred to 2.1 crore LPG beneficiaries till date.

Fuel subsidy

Indicating that the government was committed to reforms in the pricing of petroleum products and cutting down of subsidies, Mr. Chidambaram told Parliament that he had allocated Rs. 65,000 crore for fuel subsidy during 2014-15.

Referring to the Aadhar scheme, he said it was put on hold for the time being pending resolution of some glitches. “Government remains fully committed to Aadhaar under which 57 crore unique numbers have been issued so far and to opening bank accounts for all Aadhaar holders in order to promote financial inclusion.”

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