Kerala Budget 2018: Women-centric schemes have received an increased outlay of Rs 1,267 crore in the LDF government’s 2018-19 budget presented today. The schemes for empowerment and welfare of women include relief fund for assault survivors and ‘she-lodges’ (shelter for working women). Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac described the budget as ‘women-friendly’ and quoted the works of women authors from iconic poets to budding writers throughout his presentation. He said the gross provision for women, which was 11.5 per cent in the year 2017-18, has been raised to 14.6 per cent this time. “The outlay for schemes exclusively for women during 2018-19 is raised to Rs 1267 crore. This comes to 5.7 per cent of the plan outlay,” the Minister said. In addition to this, Rs 1,960 crore was provided for general development schemes in which special components for women or number of beneficiaries can be separately identified, he said. Detailing various funds earmarked for the empowerment and welfare of women, the minister said an amount of Rs 50 crore was earmarked for various schemes aimed at preventing atrocities against them. “An amount of Rs 3 crore is set apart for providing immediate relief to the survivors of atrocities,” Isaac said.
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Another Rs 5 crore has been set apart for the construction of ‘Nirbhaya Homes’ to rehabilitate survivors of atrocities who require special treatment and those suffering from severe mental agony. A total of Rs 20 crore was additionally provided for renovation of shelters for women and the aged. To address the dearth of accommodation facilities for women, the budget earmarked Rs 25 crore, including central share, for the construction of working women’s hostels and short stay homes in 14 districts. Apart from this, a fund to the tune of Rs 4.8 crore from Kerala State Housing Board was also provided for the purpose, the minister said. “She-Lodge will be established in Ernakulam at a cost of Rs 4 crore. Labour Department will set up studio apartments for women,” he said.
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An amount of Rs 200 crore was earmarked for Kudumbashree, the all-women neighbourwood network which has over 40 lakh members. The budget also reached out to the transgender community with an outlay of Rs 10 crore for their welfare. “Secure and safe homes will be established in the district headquarters for them. The atrocities against towards them even today show that we have to go a long way ahead,” the minister added.