Women’s organisations have sought adequate resources in Budget 2013-14 for women-specific schemes and for implementation and monitoring of legislations pertaining to protection of women and children in all spheres.

“Allocation for widespread setting up of crisis intervention cells, short stay homes, and other related measures to assist women victims of violence should receive pecial attention,” nine women’s organisations have demanded in a memorandum to the Finance Minister, P Chidambaram. They have also sought an appointment with the Minister.

“State accountability to acknowledge and secure women’s leadership roles, and their entry into public life must be strengthened through the Budget provisions,” the memorandum says.

Opposing direct cash transfer, the memorandum wanted the Finance Minister to ensure universal coverage under the proposed National Food Security Act with sufficient allocation to provide not less than 35 kg of grains at not more than Rs 2 a kg per nuclear family through a strengthened public distribution system.

The organisations also sought higher budgetary support for schemes as well as pension to assist women-headed households, single women of different categories, senior citizens, victims of violence, and differently-abled women among others.

Work participation

Noting that women’s work participation had shown a decline, indicating the negative impact of the sluggish economy on women, the organisations said the Government must take serious note of the critical situation and provide at least 200 days per household under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

“To address the depressing state of female employment in urban areas there is a need to enact an effective Urban Employment Guarantee Act,” they added.

The memorandum also sought resources for creation of more jobs for women under specific schemes for unorganised sector workers, migrants, etc, as also the recognition of thousands of women as employees workers in the ICDS (Anganwadi), National Rural Health Mission (ASHA) and Mid-Day Meal Schemes and ensure minimum wages to all, along with regularisation and improvement of working conditions.

The signatories to the memorandum include the National Federation of Indian Women, All India Democratic Women’s Organisation, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Guild of Service, All India Dalit Mahila Manch, Muslim Women’s Forum, All India Women’s Conference and Young Women’s Christian Association.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 9, 2013)
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