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No relief for women in interim budget: AIDWA

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The All-India Democratic Women’s Association has expressed disappointment that the interim budget had not addressed the negative impact of the global economic crisis on the economy, especially on the women.

At a time when job losses are becoming an everyday reality, affecting huge sections of unorganised workers in many sectors including textiles, garments, leather, diamond-cutting, construction, gems and jewellery, all of which have a high concentration of women workers, the government has refused to increase public spending to ensure relief for this section, says a statement issued by AIDWA.

The crisis in the rural sector needs, among other measures, an expansion of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and removal of the limit on the number of days of work. Unfortunately, the allocation for rural development has witnessed a reduction. Allotment for urban development and poverty alleviation has also been cut.

With prices of essential commodities still riding high, and food costs increasing, it was expected that the government will suggest measures to strengthen food security. Unfortunately, the interim budget has actually reduced the allocation for food subsidy.

The food subsidy reduction by Rs. 1,300 crore will mean a further weakening of the public distribution system, which has already witnessed sharp cut in allocation of food grains for APL (above poverty line) cards. The demand for a universalised PDS, which is the cornerstone of food security, has been completely ignored.

The allocation for the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme at Rs. 6,705 crore is inadequate, and cannot provide for the 14 lakh anganwadis to become functional, as per the Supreme Court directive.

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