Mumbai

For first time, a gender and child budget

With the Opposition trying to corner the Maha Vikas Aghadi government over rising crimes against women, Finance Minister Ajit Pawar introduced a gender and child budget for the first time on Friday.

While the Public Health and Medical Education Departments have been allotted ₹2,456 crore and ₹950 crore respectively, ₹2,110 crore has been proposed for the Women and Child Development Department. The budget has set aside ₹5 crore to set up a Transgender Rights Protection and Welfare Board to bring the community into the mainstream. A sum of ₹1,400 crore has been allocated to focus on health, education and employment generation, achieve the sustainable goals set by the United Nations and improve the State’s human development index.

There is a shortfall of 11 district hospitals, 21 women’s hospitals, 21 sub-district hospitals, 603 primary healthcare centres and 6,105 sub-centres. The government has decided to take up externally-aided projects worth ₹5,000 crore for primary health services and ₹2,500 crore for medical education. It will be tying up with a multi-national financial institution for a loan. The State has set aside ₹25 crore for purchasing 500 new ambulances and replace old ones. The government aims to set up 75 new dialysis centres so no patient has to travel over 50 km to seek treatment.

The budget also set aside ₹515 crore for the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, which covers 1,000 hospitals and offers 996 types of treatment. In a first, the government will be coming out with a palliative care policy by roping in NGOs and social service organisations. A new medical college will be started at Nandurbar this year and government medical colleges will be opened in Satara, Alibaug and Amravati next year.

As part of the gender budget, the State wants to give impetus to self-help groups for providing products or services up to ₹1,000 crore as part of government procurement. The government will have to amend its procurement policy.

The budget made significant mention of women’s safety, wherein an office of the State Women’s Commission will be set up in every division. An all-women’s police station in every district and special investigation teams will be constituted to investigate atrocities against women. Female government prosecutors will be appointed to represent the government in such cases. A total of ₹64 crore has been set aside to make sanitary napkins available at zilla parishad schools and install incinerators.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:40:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/for-first-time-a-gender-and-child-budget/article31004721.ece

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