Women's welfare schemes to get a boost: Renuka

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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) With a view to change the negative mindset still prevailing in certain sections of society, the Union Ministry for Women and Child Development today unveiled a slew of innovative schemes aimed at empowering women and the girl child. Announcing the first scheme, Dhanalakshmi, on "Conditional Cash Transfer" for the Girl Child with Insurance Cover" (CCT), Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury told reporters that eligibility for the scheme would depend on fulfilling certain specific conditionalities, including birth registration, immunisation, school enrolment and retention, delay in her marriage till the age of 18 years.

In addition, insurance coverage of up to Rs one lakh would be taken out for the girl child born on and after the cut-off date.

She said the name Dhanalakshmi was chosen to equate the status of the girl child with the goddess of wealth and well-being so that "women can be celebrated and not killed." Initially, a pilot project would be launched in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

In the second scheme, the Ministry has decided to highlight women's issues such as female foeticide on rail tickets as "we found that the ticket is carefully kept and scrutinised for two days before the train departure." Ms Chowdhury suggested that it could work as a talking point for the passengers on the need for such a scheme.

Yet another scheme for online tracking of grant-in-aid for schemes such as Swadhar, would help in ushering in transparency she said allowing interested parties to log in to check the status of the schemes suggested.

Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the generous allocation of fund to her ministry, the Minister said the substantial 24 per cent hike in outlay to a ministry was "unprecedented". "This year's budget is an all-embracing, comprehensive budget given to women," she added.

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