New Delhi : The Centre approved setting up of ‘Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendras’ across 115 most backward districts of the country through a new scheme for reaching out to rural women and facilitating skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition. The government also approved expanding the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme from 161 districts to 640 districts in the country, as well as 150 additional ‘one stop centres’ for the survivors of sexual violence along with seven other programmes that are part of the umbrella scheme — the National Mission for Empowerment of Women. The financial outlay for these schemes from 2017 to 2020 will be Rs 3,636.85 crore.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had first announced setting up of such mahila shakti kendras at 14 lakh anganwadi centres during his Budget speech this year and allocated Rs 500 crore for the scheme. The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of 920 Mahila Shakti Kendras at block-level in the 115 most backward districts, an official statement said. More than 3 lakh student volunteers from local colleges will be engaged in the process, while an association with the NSS/NCC students will also be explored, it said. The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme, which aims at improving child sex ratio and curbing female infanticide, will also be expanded to 640 districts from the existing 161 districts.
The statement said that another 150 one stop centres will be set up to provide medical, police, legal and phsychological assistance to women survivors of sexual crimes. Women helplines will also be executed in 36 states and Union Territories as well as the Mahila Police Volunteers scheme will be ramped up and implemented in 65 districts across all states and Union Territories from a mere 10 districts in five states.
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