Active Stocks
Thu Sep 28 2023 13:51:36
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 127.35 -0.62%
  1. Power Grid Corporation Of India share price
  2. 198.8 -0.25%
  1. Tata Consultancy Services share price
  2. 3,550.7 -1.03%
  1. Tata Motors share price
  2. 617 -0.55%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 238.65 -0.29%
Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Unkept promises wait for action

Unkept promises wait for action

The 2015-16 budget included a 19% cut in the allocation to women from the previous year

File photo. Women voters, who form around 49% of the population, continue to wait to see the words of their chosen leader get translated into action. Photo: Sonu Mehta/HTPremium
File photo. Women voters, who form around 49% of the population, continue to wait to see the words of their chosen leader get translated into action. Photo: Sonu Mehta/HT

New Delhi: It was as if the country had, all of a sudden, realized that it was unacceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights. That building something as basic as a toilet and giving it priority over a temple was the right thing to do. And that instead of blaming women for the violence against them, parents should correct their sons.

From the election campaign to the initial days of taking over, the government led by Prime Minster Narendra Modi emphasized its commitment to women and children. It’s one thing for any government to launch a string of schemes (previous governments did so as well), it’s quite another when the prime minister vouches for them, reinforces them in every subsequent speech till it becomes a matter of everyday conversation. But what is really bothering women and child rights activists is that there is more talk than action on the ground.

Modi’s speeches about the campaign were emotional, struck the right chord and reinforced the government’s commitment to women—at least in words. While one would think it’s too early to either praise or criticize the scheme, launched in January this year, minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi had no such qualms. In an interview to NDTV recently, she said the campaign had already shown results. According to her, the campaign had seen several “unwanted girl infants" ending up in orphanages, instead of being killed.

However, an integrated child development services worker in Haryana, who requested anonymity, said nothing much had happened after the first two weeks of the campaign’s launch, when every now and then cars with loudspeakers, or bright posters stressing the need to protect the girl child, were omnipresent.

Also, the basics of what exactly the campaign is about are still not clear. “We just don’t know where we are going. The budget has seen a lot of cuts. Unless we know what the tangible programmes are and where the money is going to come from, we cannot say whether what is happening is good or bad," said Ravi Verma, director at the Asia regional office of the International Center for Research on Women.

A big blow to the women’s rights movement was dealt by the 2015-16 budget, which included a 19% cut in the overall allocation to women from the previous financial year. In fact, the total budget for the ministry of women and child development has been more than halved. The government justified the cuts by saying the devolution of the divisible pool of resources to states was the reason, but how states react is yet to be seen.

According to Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, “The biggest disappointment has been the government’s failure to pass the women’s reservation bill in its first year."

The government’s attitude towards children has come in for criticism, especially following the passage of the juvenile justice bill in the Lok Sabha, which will now make it possible for juveniles accused of heinous crimes to be tried as adults. The cabinet’s decision to allow children under 14 years of age to work in family enterprises and on farms also drew flak. “Children have completely fallen out of the net. Budget cuts, the proposed law on child labour, the juvenile justice bill. Everything is regressive. If you don’t invest in children, how do you expect to better your future?" asked Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, co-founder of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.

Children, in fact, received a little more than 3% of the total budget in 2015-16. This is down from the already minimal 4.52% in the 2014-15 budget.

Women voters, who form around 49% of the population, continue to wait to see the words of their chosen leader get translated into action.

"Exciting news! Mint is now on WhatsApp Channels 🚀 Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest financial insights!" Click here!

Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Updated: 25 May 2015, 09:10 AM IST
Next Story
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App