Budget 2020: Nutrition scheme gets a Rs 3.7k-cr fillip
In her budget speech, Sitharaman announced a new task force, which will recommend in six months policy prescriptions to lower India’s maternal mortality rate.
The gender budget allocation saw a marginal increase even as Poshan Abhiyaan, the nutritional programme under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS), has been allocated ₹3,700 crore in the Union budget. This marks an increase of 8.8% from the allocation last year of ₹3,400 crore.
“Emphasising on nutrition as a critical component of health, Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to provide ₹35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes for the year 2020-21,” said a women and child development (WCD) ministry press release about the allocation for nutrition across all ministries. The ministries of WCD, health and family welfare, and human resource development are primarily responsible for nutrition.
In her budget speech, Sitharaman announced a new task force, which will recommend in six months policy prescriptions to lower India’s maternal mortality rate. WCD ministry officials said the force will have officials from Niti Aayog, health and WCD ministries, and deliberate the ideal age of marriage of a woman.
The WCD ministry’s allocation -- ₹30,007.10 crore -- amounts to an increase of 3.6% from the grant last year of ₹29,164.90 crore, which is only 0.9% of the total budget this year, a decline from last year’s 1.04%.
Nutrition remains the focus of the WCD ministry’s budget allocation, with the ICDS getting ₹28557.38 crore. It marks a marginal increase of 3.5% from ₹27584.37 last year.
The grant for Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme, which Sitharaman referred to in her speech, has declined by 21% from ₹280 crore to ₹220 crore.
The allocation for the women’s helpline has increased by 68.72% from ₹17.78 crore last year to ₹30 crore. The One Stop Crisis Centre, which records complaints received from women affected by violence, has been granted 40% more funds--₹385 crore this year compared to ₹274 crore.
As per the gender budget statement, an overview of all of the Centre’s schemes that benefit women partly or wholly, the allocation for this fiscal is ₹1.4 lakh crore, an increase of 4.7% from last year’s ₹1.3 lakh crore.
The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability‘s Sakshi Rai said, “...There is a focus on redressal and aftercare than checking the violence. Like last year, the allocation for the transgender community, too, is missing completely... This needs to be corrected.”
The allocation for Ujjwala scheme for providing LPG connections to poor households has seen a dip of 59%. It has been allocated only ₹1,118 crore this year.
Dr Ruth Manorama of the National Alliance for Women said, “...when we dive deep into the budget, we see that there are limited budgetary provisions for women, particularly women from marginalised communities. Even where allocations register some increase, they are not adequate to bring about transformational change...”