On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched several initiatives for women.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy wearing a white shirt, cutting a pink cake along with women officials on International Women's Day
news Gender Tuesday, March 09, 2021 - 08:58

Andhra Pradesh could be the first state in India to incorporate a concept called 'Gender Budget' in its annual Budget for FY 2021-22, aimed at better serving women. On International Women's Day on Monday, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy emphasised that the Gender Budget should clearly list out the expenditures for women's welfare under various schemes.

As per the 2011 census, only 60 per cent women in Andhra Pradesh were literate while the balance 40 per cent were unable to pursue education In order to resolve this issue and lower the burden of providing quality education, the state government has introduced schemes such as the Jagananna Amma Vodi  (financial assistance for mothers of school children) which encompassed an expenditure of Rs 13,022 crore in two years' time.

In five years' time, this scheme will spend Rs 32,500 crore, benefiting over 44.5 lakh mothers and 85 lakh students. "Women should be given equal rights economically, socially and politically and their services in bettering the society should be recognised," said Jagan.

He said the state government has spent Rs 80,000 crore in 21 months for women's welfare through schemes such as Amma Vodi, YSR Cheyuta, YSR Asara and Kapu Nestam. "Besides ensuring women's welfare, the government has also focused on empowering women socially, politically, economically and made laws to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in all nominated posts and works," said Jagan.

Along with 900 Disha patrolling vehicles, the Chief Minister has also launched 18 Disha crime scene management vehicles. 

He also launched dedicated women's help desks at all police stations in the state virtually on Monday. These help desks are aimed at offering a friendly and approachable atmosphere to women in a police station.

They are equipped with airport lounge style benches and water dispensers, along with an enlisted panel of experts such as psychologists, NGOs and legal aid among others to access outside support.

"Women and child friendly training has been provided to all Disha patrolling staff," said an official. They have also been trained by experts to address not only women and child crimes but also cyber-crimes against women. 

Police will carry out patrolling duties at predetermined locations such as educational institutions, women's hostels, offices with predominantly women staff, hospitals, bus and railway stations and other public places.

Andhra Pradesh has also placed an order for 50 cyber safe kiosks which can detect malware, virus and backdoor entries to mobile phones. The kiosks can also remove malware and viruses from USBs drives. It can also run a security scan to identify malicious apps and provide a risk factor to installed ones.

The kiosks will be provided by the National Forensic Science University in Gujarat.

'Swechha' (meaning freedom), a programme intended to ensure affordable access to health and menstrual hygiene in adolescent girls and women, was also launched on Monday by CM Jagan. 

Under the programme, the government would supply 10 sanitary napkins per month to every adolescent girl studying in Classes 7 to 12 in all government schools, junior colleges and residential institutions in the state from the next academic year, beginning July.

Good quality, branded sanitary napkins would also be made available at affordable prices in all Cheyutha Stores run by women in urban and rural areas, according to Women Development and Child Welfare Department Principal Secretary A R Anuradha.

She said in an order that a lady teacher or lecturer would be identified in each school and college to be in-charge for implementing the Swechha programme. The in-charge would be responsible for maintaining stocks and distributing them to girl students as per norms. "She will also ensure that children are taught methods of safe disposal or used napkins," Anuradha said.

Earlier, addressing the event at his camp office, the Chief Minister said women employees in all government offices would be given five casual leaves, in addition to the existing 15 per annum.

Regretting that committees for preventing harassment of women at workplaces remained dysfunctional, the Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das to put the committees in place, including in the state Secretariat.

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