Women and child development ministry fails to make use of budget to improve women’s plight

,TNN | Apr 10, 2012, 04.55 AM IST

NEW DELHI: An increasing incidence of crimes against women has failed to stir the government into action. At a time when women report to feel increasingly unsafe travelling at night, are subject to rape, domestic violence and molestation the ministry of women and child development (WCD), headed by Krishna Tirath, appears to be sitting on its budget meant for improving living conditions for women. 

Of the 12 schemes amounting to about Rs 687 crore, the WCD ministry has spent less than half in five of them, including establishment of working women's hostels, support for training and employment of women and the ambitious National Mission for Empowerment of Women. 

The ministry spent a paltry 4% of the Rs 40 crore allocated for working women's hostels in 2011-2012. Spending on the national mission — that was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil and was expected to provide a single window for all women-related services — is a mere 15%. The ministry has managed to spend only Rs 6.01 crore of the Rs 40 crore allocated for the last fiscal. Support for training and employment programme for women (STEP) has seen 18.6% spending while barely 23% of the budget allocated for the Priyadarshini scheme has been spent. The Central Social Welfare Board spent a little more than 54% of its budget for awareness generation, but a little more (73%) in conducting courses. 

Except for Ujjawala — scheme for prevention of trafficking and rehabilitation of victims — where the ministry has spent 97% of the Rs 10 crore allocated to it, there has been below par expenditure in nearly every other scheme. Spending is better on programs like day care facilities for children provided under the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for the children of working mothers (86%) and Rashtriya Mahila Kosh where loans sanctioned and released amount to 64% that is Rs 12.8 crore of the Rs 19 crore allocated. 

Women's share in the budget has increased from Rs 687.48 crore to Rs 858 crore with women activists clamouring for higher allocations. However, with such poor spending, the fight for higher allocations will only get tougher.