When PM Narendra Modi started the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ with the tagline ‘Ek Kadam Swacchta ki ore’, it was a step in the right direction! The Country report by The International Monetary Fund which was released last month clearly indicates that PM Modi is the only politician who has really cared about women’s rights and issues like sanitation. According to the IMF research report “Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat program, close to 31 million toilets have been built in rural areas, resulting in a 17.5 percent increase in the number of Indian rural households with a latrine facility”.
Recent IMF research on India also states that “improved access to sanitation facilities, by reducing the unpaid home and care burdens of women and by improving public safety of women, increases their labor force participation, leading to a positive impact on India’s real output and real per-capita incomes.3 Specifically, an improvement in public sanitation provisions which reduces womens’ time spent in home and care work by close to 10 percent leads to a 1.5 percent increase in female labor participation and a 1.4 percent gain in real GDP.”
The report also talks about the declining CSR numbers. “Although there has been a rise in awareness, advances in technology and an increase in literacy levels, India’s child sex ratio (number of girls per 1000 boys) continues to decline”. To reverse these declining CSR numbers, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Celebrate Girl Child, Enable her Education) scheme was aunched by Prime Minister Modi in January 2015. With a budget of Rs 199.99 crore, this scheme has been implemented in 100 selected districts low in CSR, the report states. It further adds that “Increasing engagement at the state level, deepening community participation and long-term growth-supporting policies will help the success of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme”.
The report also lauds the initiatives taken by the government in enhancing financial inclusion. “The government’s introduction of gold monetization schemes can boost financial intermediation by channeling domestic gold holdings to gold savings accounts, although uptake thus far has been minimal. The launch of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) in August 2014 led to the opening of bank accounts for 254 million previously unbanked individuals. There is now continued emphasis on increasing transactional volumes on the PMJDY accounts (including by Aadhaar-supported direct benefit transfers).
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The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme has sought to facilitate access to formal finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through collateral-free loans, with close to 1 percent of GDP in loans having been disbursed under this scheme.”