A REPORT ON MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA: CURRENT FOCUS WITH PROPOSED FUTURE TARGET by -Nirali Biswal & Dr. Snigdha Sarkar1 Abstract
“Women and Children” contribute 68% of the country’s total people according to 2011 census. Authorisation and shielding of females and children, assuring their development is vital for justifiable and fair development of nation. The main aim of Women and Child Development ministry is to bring gender equality and frame policies which specially focus on children.
For full-fledged execution of the plans and projects by the “Ministry of Women and Child Development”, all plans are categorized in three schemes named ‘Mission POSHAN 2.0’, ‘Mission VATSALYA’ and ‘Mission Shakti’2. The finance minister informed that, all the initiatives for north east India would allow economic activities for “youth and women”.
Key words: Child, Women, Women and Child Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Budget 2022-23 3
Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget Speech 2022-23 said, “Nari Shakti is the indicator of India’s bright future.” Understanding the importance of Nari Shakti, the Cabinet in 2021 approved three main plans of the Ministry to be applied in the form of mission, and they are, ‘Mission POSHAN 2.0’, ‘Mission VATSALYA’ and ‘Mission SHAKTI’. The structure, composition and budgetary allocation of three schemes as announced for 2021- 22 is given below:4
Amount (in Cr.)
Anganwadi Centres & Poshan 2.0
‘Nutritional meal in govt schools’
‘Child protection and welfare services’
‘Promotion of self-help groups’
Union Budget 2022-23: Key plans for Promoting Women and Child Development.6
- The budget for Anganwadi Centres is 20,000 crores (estimated)7
- Budget allotted to Mission Shakti is Rs.3,220 crores for this financial year.For Mission VATSALYA, the budge t allotted is Rs. 1,472 crores for FY 2022-23, which is an increase of 5 percent as it was Rs 900 crore in 2021-22.8
Indian government has taken some steps to eradicate malnutrition in the last few years by the help of combined Child Development Plan and Anganwadi System – to supply adequate nutrition to pregnant and as well as new mothers, nutritional meal in schools, facilitating grains at appropriate rates under the public distribution system. National Food Security Act 2013 guarantees food security to the unguarded.
In spite of all attempts and ideas, women’s well- being and education side is still not up to the mark. There is a direct link between lack of education, destitution and malnourishment. As per the report by World bank, girls’ education and end of child marriage are primary to reduce poverty. The sustainable development plan is trying to bring gender equality and quality education by the year 2030. Education gives rise to social and economic flexibility, this it’s a way to escape poverty.
Nearly, half of India’s population are women and they add 18% to the country’s GDP, a lot of things are to be done to deal with the hurdles faced by females. Post COVID-19 crisis, women have gone through the
brunt of economic and social undoing. As per World Bank’s report, the pandemic has impelled 150 million people to live under poverty. The situation demands fruitful application of schemes and proper allotment of budget.9
The union budget 2022-23 tries to keep up the economic growth and help it maintain in a long-term manner. The budget of the Women and Child Development Ministry has come down by 0.7%. Mission Poshan 2.0 has been initiated to build up nourishing requirements, however, the budget allotment for the POSHAN Abhiyan has seen a sharp reduction of 27%.
Even after unsuccessful Poshan Abhiyan, Poshan2.0 was started by collaborating “Saksham”10 and “Samarthya”11. The budget is lowest for children which stand at 2.51%. The gender budget was tiring. The approximate budget was amended by 49% missing out around 50% of the women recipients. The figures indicate bad execution of programmes which leads to decrease in number of people benefiting from it. Budget has also neglected teenage- nutrition, statistics show nourishment deficiencies and poor intake of nutrition among them. Favourable plans for teen age girls which deals with their wellness and nutrition needs soaring allocation and strong application to improve the decreasing figures. There is a drastic change (from Rs 731 crore to Rs 47 crore) in the Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women, highlighting utter negligence of weaker section of girls and women against the presumption of life-changing chance. Looking at views of experts, “the Budget announced POSHAN Mission 2.0 but it would be good and effective only if feeding and not mere provision gets the share of the budget.”
The current work is an analytical research12 based on report writing technique13 to find out the facts and the issues related to women and child development level in India. The current work is taking into consideration all the primary and secondary data of Ministry of women and child development. As primary it includes the raw statistics issued by the department and government sources again as secondary it is utilising information available in internet, journals, books, articles and news clips.etc. Here the author is aiming to find out the answers for the following questions;
- What are the programmes coined by government to develop women and children?
- What is the role of ministry of women and child development?
- What is the current status of women and children in India?
Conceptualisation of women and child development in India
This paper is a survey and valuation of plans for “women and child development” in India. It has some of the directions in the end, where it is mentioned that a linkage between several ministries is working for the protection of ‘women and children’ which is required for their all-round growth and development. As India steps ahead to achieve goals, there is a need to have government’s involvement for sectoral inspection.
The current valuation aims at “rationalisation of schemes” 14 to take out the full potential “women and child development” sector. The course of ‘Women and Child Development’ ministry and the main shift in the way of “women’s and children’s issues has been ‘conceptualised’ in the development quotient of India, it highlights that many policies and plans for the “welfare” of ‘women and children’ within the action plan of a ‘democratic policy’.
Role of Ministry of Women and Child Development15
- To valuate plans and policies which focus on “women and child development”.
- To involve with the ‘Ministry of Women and Child Development’ to check the progress of ‘strategies and programmes’ at central and state levels and do necessary “modifications”.
- Examining and providing remarks on several plans and
Union Budget 2022-23: A Quick Snapshot
Union Budget 2022-23 continue to focus in bracing development, with fresh ideas to take the country in a clear-cut track of economic retrieval. Heading the idea forward, India’s current budget aims to solve issues that women come across and try to generate new scope for added growth and development.
It’s a point to regret, in spite of the country’s broad vision, the amount of the present year’s gender- based budget, just like the past years has remained less than five percent of the total spending and it has not increased even one or two percent “gross domestic product”. The ministry has issued Rs.1,70,005.41 crores for schemes which are specially implemented for women, it has risen up by 13 percent from the last year’s budget.
This year, gender budget has reduced from 4.5 percent to 4.29 percent. In this budget, the first part, has hundred percent female specific projects, are allotted Rs 25,998.98 crores, a rise of six percent in comparison to previous year’s budget. The second part which is also having schemes, there almost 31 percent of the issued amount are provided for females, saw a 13 percent growth from previous year.
In January 2022, percentage of the “women labour work force” in the country turned out to be 9.4 percent less as compared to ‘January 2020’. Looking at the other side, the percentage of men working or engaging in economic activities has come back to normal or “pre covid time.” “The Covid-19 pandemic” compelled many ladies to work as part time labours. This year’s “gender budget” was supposed to give allowance to females to get better and advance themselves through ‘economic benefits’, ‘tax deduction’, organised employment and greater monetary incorporation. Around 89.8 percent of the addition in this year’s “gender budget” is from plans and projects in “Part B”, where 30 percent of the total amount is reserved for women. The clustering of the budget into various schemes indicate the limitation of gender equality, especially in ‘job sector’ and ‘infrastructural or industrial progress’. “The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” (MGNREGA), where females enrol in large numbers and frequently rely upon it for earning livelihood, has come down by 19.96 percent. Gender focused job options were not given due importance in the “current year budget”, mainly in villages.
Apart from hike in job loss along with substantial loss of income, ‘growing vulnerabilities’ since the time of Covid-19 has challenged females in India with ‘highly unpaid work burdens’, ‘more cases of violence’ and ‘a broad digital divide’. So far, plans which concentrate on giving ‘safety’ to females, like “One Stop Centres”, “MAHILA Police Volunteer”, “Women’s Helpline”, “Nari Adalat”, have come down from Rs 586 crores in 2021 to Rs 560 crores in 2022. Adding more to this, the “Digital SAKSHARTA ABHIYAN” aimed towards promoting ‘digital literacy’ saw a decrease of 20 percent in the ‘current budget’ and allotment for ‘Digital India’ Project has come down to nil.16
The “education sector” has seen notable gain in this ‘financial year’, the allotment for “SAMAGRA SHIKSHA” 17 programme has gone up by 25 percent. The Department of Higher Education received a 10 percent gain. In spite of this commendable move, allotment for the “National Scheme for Incentive to girl child for secondary education”, an initiative to cover ‘learning gap’ designed for adolescent girls as schools open, has not received any allocation at all.
- At first, the unsuccessful programs should be altered because the POSHAN Abhiyan turned out to be a
- The ministry should focus on educating women rather than providing them with free basic amenities.
- Education will make its way to a women empowered
- Promotion of self-help groups would be helpful in making women self-sufficient.
- Programs like nutrition week, balanced diet exhibition should be organised to throw light on the importance of children’s
- Activities like summer camps, fun-day, treasure hunt should be held to increase creativity of
Ensuring growth and safety of women and children through ‘cross cutting policies and programmes’, spreading knowledge about their rights, facilitating access to learning, institutional and legislative support for enabling them to “grow and develop” to their full potential. Welfare of female population can be ensured by the very basic and necessary act of providing them education – the next step is to create awareness about several laws and rights available to them. Above all, women should get education up to a certain level to stand in the society.
Awareness can be created by organising camps in rural areas. To improve the social, economic, health nutritional status of women is of paramount importance for development of society as a whole. Improving the physical, mental, intellectual and nutritional status of children is highly essential as they would play a pivotal role in making this country prosperous and strong.
1 Student & Assistant Professor at KIIT School of Law.
2 https://static.pib.gov.in/ (visited on 24/05/22, at 11:40 am)
3 https://pib.gov.in/indexd.aspx (visited on 24/05/22 at 11:40 am)
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5 http://www.thehindu.com/ (visited on 24/05/22, at 11:50 am)
7 ‘Budget 2022: WCD ministry allocated Rs 25,172 crore, rise of just 3%’, https://www.business- standard.com/budget/article/budget-2022-wcd-ministry-allocated-rs-25-172-crore-rise-of-just-3- 122020101443_1.html#:~:text=The%20budget%20allocated%20for%20Saksham,20%2C105%20crore%20in% 202021%2D22.,(Visited on 31/05/2022at 10.19 am.)
8 https://thedailyguardian.com/ (visited on 31/05/22, 10:25 am)
9 http://www.business-standard.com/ ( visited on 31/05/22, 10:27 am)
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14 http://www.indiabudget.gov.in/ (visited on 1.06.22, at 7:33 pm)
15 https://wcd.nic.in/ ( visited on 01/06/22, at 7:40 pm)
16 https://wcd.nic.in/ (visited on 1/6/22, at 7:45 pm)
17 https://indianexpress.com/(visited on 1/6/22, at 7:45 pm)