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Budget 2024: Funding for public hospitals may increase

The upcoming Budget 2024 is likely to introduce several measures aimed at supporting women.

Initiatives such as direct benefit transfers (DBT) for cooking gas and other essentials are expected to alleviate their financial burdens. Additionally, there is an expectation of increased funding for public hospitals and the provision of free or subsidised health check-ups to improve healthcare services for women.

During her Interim Budget 2024 speech this February, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that Rs 30 crore in Mudra Yojana loans had been disbursed to women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, 83 lakh self-help groups (SHG) are working towards transforming one crore women into Lakhpati Didis, emphasising the empowerment of women through these initiatives.

One of the most notable points in her speech was the increase in women’s enrolment in STEM courses, with women representing 43 per cent of total enrollment, one of the highest percentages globally according to government data.

Additionally, there has been a 28 per cent rise in women registering for higher education.

The government reported that over 70 per cent of rural houses under the PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) were assigned to women, either individually or jointly. These efforts reflect a significant boost in the women’s workforce through various entrepreneurship programs.

Continuities from FY23 budget
The Interim Budget also continued several initiatives from the previous (FY24) Budget. The introduction of the ‘Mahila Samman Saving Certificate’ scheme, last year, offered a fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent for two years, with a maximum deposit limit of Rs 2 lakh, and allowed for partial withdrawals.

A substantial allocation of Rs 20,554.31 crore was made to the ‘Saksham Anganwadi’ and ‘Poshan 2.0’ programs, targeting the welfare of pregnant women, lactating mothers, and adolescent girls.

Furthermore, 81 lakh self-help groups are set to be created under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission, aiming to empower rural women economically, the business-daily noted.

In addition, small women farmers received Rs 54,000 crore in financial assistance under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi program. The last year’s Budget also saw a slight increase in funds allocated to the National Commission for Women, Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, raising the total to Rs 168 crore. Business Standard

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