As the curtains rise on the Union Budget 2024, the spotlight is rightfully on the initiatives aimed at fostering the growth and empowerment of women and youth in India. The Momentum for Nari Shakti has been palpable, and the budget announcement reflects a commitment to building on this momentum for a more inclusive and vibrant future.

Schemes galore

Over the last decade, the government has championed the cause of women empowerment through various avenues, particularly in entrepreneurship, ease of living, and ensuring dignity for women. The success of the Mudra Yojana is evident with 30cr loans disbursed to women entrepreneurs, catalyzing economic growth and financial independence. The rise in female enrolment in higher education by 28 percent and a substantial 43 percent representation in STEM courses showcase a significant stride towards gender parity.

One of the standout achievements has been the reservation of one-third seats for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies, along with a commendable allocation of over seventy percent of houses under PM Awas Yojana in rural areas to women as sole or joint owners. These measures not only enhance the dignity of women but also contribute to their increased participation in the workforce, fostering a more balanced and equitable society.

The Lakhpati Didi initiative has been a transformative force in rural India, with eighty-three lakh Self-Help Groups (SHGs) empowering nine crore women and revolutionizing the socio-economic landscape. Recognizing their monumental success, the decision to raise the target for Lakhpati Didi from 2 crore to 3 crore is a testament to the program’s impact. These women are not just entrepreneurs; they are inspirations and torchbearers for others aspiring to break free from economic constraints.

The budget also signals a comprehensive approach towards maternal and child care by consolidating various schemes under one umbrella program—“Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0.” This move aims to synergize efforts for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and overall development. It showcases a commitment to building a healthier and more robust future generation.

Healthcover extension

Furthermore, extending healthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers, and Helpers is a crucial step in recognizing the essential role these frontline workers play in the well-being of communities. This not only ensures their welfare but also strengthens the overall healthcare infrastructure.

In conclusion, the Union Budget 2024 sets the tone for an ‘Amrit Kaal’—a time of prosperity and well-being for the nation. The focus on women and youth empowerment is not just a policy; it’s a recognition of the responsibility — ’Kartavya Kaal.’

As we embrace these initiatives, we collectively stride towards a more inclusive, equal, and prosperous India. The Budget doesn’t just allocate funds; it invests in a future where the potential of every woman and youth is realized for the greater good of the nation.

The writer is JMD, Apollo Hospitals