Budget 2024 Puts Focus on Women's Empowerment: FM Highlights Loans and Healthcare Coverage
Budget 2024 Puts Focus on Women's Empowerment: FM Highlights Loans and Healthcare Coverage

The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, highlighted the government's focus on women's empowerment during her presentation of the 'Vote of Account' on Thursday. She emphasized the strides made in entrepreneurship, living standards, and dignity over the past decade.

Sitharaman recalled previous initiatives aimed at empowering women, applauding their increasing participation in the workforce and enrollment in higher education, particularly in STEM fields.

"Female enrollment in higher education has risen by 28% in the last 10 years, with women constituting 43% of STEM course enrollment, among the highest globally. Initiatives such as making triple talaq illegal and reserving one-third of parliamentary and state assembly seats for women, along with providing over 70% of PM Awas Yojana houses to women, have bolstered their dignity," she stated.

Loans for Women

The Finance Minister announced that under the PM Mudra Yojana, over 43 crore loans amounting to ₹22.5 lakh crore have been disbursed, with a noteworthy 30 crore loans specifically directed towards women over the past decade.

Additionally, the government plans to promote cervical cancer vaccinations for girls aged nine to fourteen.

"Our government will encourage vaccination for girls aged 9 to 14 to prevent cervical cancer," she affirmed.

Sitharaman also revealed the existence of eighty-three lakh self-help groups (SHGs) comprising nine crore women, significantly contributing to rural socio-economic development. These SHGs have empowered nearly one crore women financially, earning them the title of "Lakhpati Didi" or millionaire sisters. Encouraged by this success, the government aims to increase the target for Lakhpati Didi from 2 crore to 3 crore.

Priority Categories

During her speech, FM Sitharaman underscored the importance of addressing four key categories: the impoverished, women, youth, and farmers, referred to as "garib, mahila, yuva, annadata" respectively. She also highlighted the significant economic transformation witnessed over the past decade.

Furthermore, the government announced extending healthcare coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA and anganwadi workers.

"The health cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will now include all ASHA and Anganwadi workers and helpers," she announced.

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