From mohalla clinics to safety measures: Here’s what Delhi budget offers for women

- March 9, 2021
| By : Sashikala VP |

Patriot takes a look at how the Delhi govt has decided to focus on the upliftment of women and their needs in the Capital city with their new budget schemes The Delhi government on March 9 presented its budget for 2021-22 of Rs 69,000 crore, calling it the ‘Deshbhakti Budget’. One of the bigger promises […]

Patriot takes a look at how the Delhi govt has decided to focus on the upliftment of women and their needs in the Capital city with their new budget schemes

The Delhi government on March 9 presented its budget for 2021-22 of Rs 69,000 crore, calling it the ‘Deshbhakti Budget’.

One of the bigger promises it has made is the setting up of Mahilla Mohalla Clinics. At present, there are 496 Mohalla clinics in the city which the Aam Aadmi Party led government started to provide primary care for free. The clinics it will start now will specifically help women, who come under middle class and lower income groups,  receive the services of a gynaecologist and related diagnostic tests.

The Deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, while announcing this said women belonging to this group mostly fail to reach a gynaecologist. “It is a fact of our society that women tend to neglect their own illnesses. The result of this is that many women live with ailment, assuming it as destiny.”

In the first phase, he has announced that 100 such clinics will be established in different parts of Delhi, which will be progressively increased to at least one clinic in each ward. “I understand that this is taken in the direction of keeping half of its population respectfully healthy, which will be the most important step so far in the history of 75 years of independent Independence,” Sisodia said.

While it doesn’t say exactly how much would be spent on these clinics, the budget estimate for the health sector is Rs 9,934 crore, which is 14 percent of the total budget. This includes Rs 1,293 crore for capital projects. Of this, Rs 5,192 crore is for various schemes, programs and projects under the health sector.

Next, the government will continue providing free travel to women on DTC and cluster buses which began in October’ 2019. This was one freebie which had received some criticism, while its most criticised aspect — giving free metro rides to women which never took off, does not find a comeback.

The free public transport was aimed at providing independence to women who may not step out of their homes due to added pressure of travel costs. It was also a way of ensuring safety of women through public transport.

The added safety measure was the promise of CCTV cameras to have the city in a blanket of eyes. In his last budget speech Sisodia had announced the installation of additional 1.40 lakh CCTV cameras throughout Delhi in RWAs & Market association. He has now said that about 1.32 lakh cameras including Command control centre (CCC) have been installed and made functional, and promised an outlay of Rs 200 crore for installation of CCTV cameras in 2021-22.

While it has been able to add a considerable number of cameras, when compared to a city like London, it falls short in the number of people to cameras ratio. London has over six lakh cameras for its 93-lakh population (6,27,727 cameras for 9,304,016 people) making its account to 67 cameras per 1,000 people, according to a UK-based firm called Comparitech which reviews technology services. In its review of CCTVs in cities around the world, it found that Delhi had about four lakh CCTVs for over three crores of populations (429,500 cameras for 30,290,390 population) bringing it to 14.18 cameras per 1,000 individuals.

But moving on to another key budget promise which relates to women stepping out of their homes is providing them with a safe space to work on ideas, conceptualise, and see through. Sisodia pointed out that a survey the government conducted found that before Covid crisis, in February 2020, 26% women were unemployed in Delhi. This number has become worse this year with 40% unemployed. “This reveals that among the women of Delhi, who are available for employment, 40% are unable to find any work. 45% of these women have completed 12th class and 60% of these women are less than 30 years of age,” he added.

So the Delhi government has come up with ‘Saheli Samanvay Kendra’ which is believed to help in the integration of women into the economy. The initiative will see 500 anganwadi hubs being set up in various parts of Delhi to be used by women of nearby areas for four hours every day.

These hubs, it says will be used for developing start-ups and promoting self-help groups – ‘Samriddhi’. There will also be special arrangement in the hubs, according to the deputy chief minister for training the women in opening micro-economic units and in being able to hold meetings of self-help groups.

And while the government brings in new schemes and measures for women, it said that many poor women fail to avail benefits because they are either unaware, or are unable to understand how to avail them. This will also set up 33 self-help units for creating awareness amongst women on the schemes intended to aid them.

In relation to that it outlined that 8.30 lakh beneficiaries of financial assistance which include women in distress, senior citizens, differently–abled persons and other marginal sections of the society, receive Rs 2000 to Rs 2,500 per month. The budget it has allocated is Rs 2,710 crore in 2021- 22 for these beneficiaries.

In fact, the budget allocates Rs 4,750 crore for the Department of Social Welfare, Women & Child Development and Welfare of SC/ST/OBC this budget. In total, the budget estimates of Rs 69,000 crore includes Rs 51,799 crore under revenue and Rs 17,201 crore under capital outlay in 2021-22.

The proposed budget of Rs 69,000 crore during the year 2021-22 will be financed by Rs 43,000 crore from own tax revenue, Rs 1,000 crore from non-tax revenue, Rs 325 crore as share in central taxes, Rs 9,285 crore from small saving loan, capital receipts of Rs 1000 crore, GST compensation of Rs 6000 crore, Rs 2088 crore for Centrally Sponsored Scheme, and lastly Rs 657 crore as grant-in-aid from Government of India and the remaining amount from the opening balance.

(Cover: Credit – Getty Images)