In the Union Budget 2013-14, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on 28 February 2013 by the Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, announcements were made for the social sector, with focus primarily on women, poor and youth. The Finance Minister laid emphasis on the safety and security of the women and declared that various initiatives were underway as well as many more were taken by the government along with the non-governmental organisations.
Various Schemes and Proposals Announced for the Social Sector are as follows:
Eligibility conditions of life insurance policies for persons suffering from disabilities and certain ailments relaxed
The Union Budget 2013-14 proposed relaxation in the eligibility conditions of Life Insurance Policies for persons suffering from disability or certain ailment. The Finance Minister proposed an increase in the permissible premium rate from 10 percent to 15 percent. The relaxation will be made available on or after 1 April 2013.
Government planned to evolve new criteria for determining backwardness
The Union Government declared that human development indicators should be considered for determining backwardness. The Finance Minister proposed to evolve new criteria such as per capita income and other HDIs and reflect them in future planning and devolution of funds. The Finance Minister termed the Backward Regions Grant Fund as a vital source of gap funding and therefore proposed to allocate 11500 crores Rupees in 2013-14 along with another sum of 1000 crore Rupees for Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts.
Youth to be targeted and motivated
The Union Finance Minister announced that the Union Government will release funds through National Rural Livelihood Mission and the National Urban Livelihood Mission to achieve the target of skilling 50 million people in the Twelfth Plan period including 9 million in 2013-14. P. Chidambaram announced that 5 percent of the Border Area Development Programme Fund, 10 percent of the Special Central Assistance to the Scheduled Castes sub-plan and the Tribal sub-plan and some other funds will also be used for skill development.
Empowerment, safety and security of women; Nirbhaya Fund of 1000 crore Rupees announced
The Finance Minister proposed setting-up of Nirbhaya Fund of 1000 crore Rupees. The minister announced that Ministry of Women and Child Development along with other concerned ministries will work upon the structure, scope and the application of the Fund.
Direct benefit transfer scheme to be rolled out throughout the country
The Union Government announced rolling out Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme throughout the country. The Finance Minister announced that around 11 lakh beneficiaries received the benefits directly into their bank accounts. The Finance Minister also announced that the Government would make sure that digitised beneficiaries lists are available and that bank account is opened for each beneficiary.
Scholarships announced for students belonging to SC/ST/OBC/ minorities and girl children
The Union Finance Minister allocated 37330 crore Rupees to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the Union Budget 2013-14. Out of this allocation, new National Health Mission which is a combination of the rural mission and the proposed urban mission, will be allocated 21239 crore Rupees, an increase of 24.3 percent over the Revised Estimate.
For the purpose of medical education, training and research, the Union Finance Minister proposed to allocate 4727 crore Rupees. The National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly was implemented in 100 selected districts of 21 States. Eight regional geriatric centres were funded for development of dedicated geriatric departments with a fund of 150 crore Rupees.
The Union Finance Minister also proposed to allocate 5284 crore Rupees to the scholarships planned for students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Minorities, and girl children, in 2013-14. The Mid-day Meal Scheme will be allocated 13215 crore Rupees.
Maternal and child malnutrition to be tackled in mission mode
The Finance Minister also announced 17700 crore Rupees in 2013-14 for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). P. Chidambaram underlined that the main focus would remain on early childhood care and education. For the purpose of maternal and child malnutrition, the Finance Minister announced that the multi-sectoral proramme that was announced in 2012-13 would be implemented in 100 districts during 2013-14 with an allocation of 300 crore Rupees.
New measures for welfare of SC/ST, women and minorities
The Finance Minister allocated 41561 crore Rupees to the scheduled castes sub plan and 24598 crore Rupees to tribal sub plan. The gender budget had 97134 crore Rupees and the child budget was given 77236 crore Rupees in 2013-14.
Apart from this, the Ministry of Women and Child Development was asked to prepare schemes for addressing concerns of women, especially single women and widows and for this an amount of 200 crore Rupees was allocated. 3511 crore Rupees was allocated to the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
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