VIJAYAWADA: For the first time, the State government on Thursday introduced a Gender Budget — allocations exclusively for women — with an outlay of a whopping Rs 47,283.21 crore. Of the total allocation, almost half of it, Rs 23,463.10 crore, is for the schemes exclusively for women and girls. The Gender Budget Statement 2021-22, presented by Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath, said achieving gender equality and women’s economic empowerment was not only important from the perspective of realising women’s rights but also was smart economics.
“Women are key agents of change and when women and men are equal, economies grow faster, less people remain in poverty, and the overall well-being of people increases. Harnessing women’s potential as economic actors, leaders and consumers results in higher levels of industrialisation and more sustained growth rates,’’ it said.
“Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy laid special focus on socio-economic development, welfare and protection of women and children especially in areas such as health, education, nutrition, livelihood and protection from abuse through the manifold schemes under the umbrella of Navratnalu,’’ the statement said, adding the flagship schemes of Jagananna Ammavodi, YSR Aasara, YSR Cheyutha, YSR Sunna Vaddi, YSR Sampoorna Poshana, House sites to women beneficiaries, Jagananna Vidya Deevana and Jagananna Vasathi Deevana have been introduced by the government increasing the allocation of funds towards welfare of women and girl children.
Pedalandariki Illu (houses for all), one of the flagship programmes under Navaratnalu, got a major budgetary allocation.Under the first phase of Pedalandariki Illu, 15,10,227 houses will be constructed, for which house site pattas and possession certificates have already been issued to the women beneficiaries. Of these 15 lakh odd houses, 5.30 lakh are in urban local bodies and 9.80 lakh in urban development areas with a unit cost of Rs 1.80 lakh.
Under the social welfare department, schemes like Jagananna Vidya Deevena, Jagananna Vasati Deevena are benefitting women, particularly mothers of students studying in schools and social welfare hostels. Another scheme under the department is the AP Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1988 through which Joginis will be rehabilitated and support will be given for their economic development. In the budget for 2021-22, Rs 20 lakh has been earmarked for the scheme.
The government passed the AP Disha Bill, 2019, making amendments in the IPC and CrPC to ensure completion of investigation and trial within 21 days and for providing death penalty in cases of rape of women, which are heinous in nature. The State government set up 18 police units by upgrading existing Mahila Police Stations and Disha App, an emergency SOS app for women in distress, was also launched.