Presenting his fourth Union Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced that funds for the welfare of women and children under various schemes across all ministries would be increased from Rs. 1, 56, 528 crores (2016-17) to Rs. 1, 84, 632 crores (2017-18). Jaitley also announced the setting up of Mahila Shakti Kendra at village level with an allocation of Rs 500 crores in 14 lakh ICDS anganwadi centres. He said these centres will provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.
He also said that under the nationwide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 31, 2016, Rs. 6,000 each will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.
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In order to facilitate higher investment in affordable housing, the finance minister in his budget speech proposed that affordable housing will now be given infrastructure status, which will enable these projects to avail the associated benefits.
He added that in addition to the interest subvention for housing loans announced by the Prime Minister and the reduced lending rates by Banks post-demonetisation, the National Housing Bank will refinance individual housing loans of about Rs 20,000 crore in 2017-18.