The Kerala state budget 2018-19, presented on Friday in the State Assembly, includes several schemes for women in the state.
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, while presenting the budget, announced the allocation of Rs 1,267 crore, or 13.6% of the total budget, for the welfare of women.
- Rs 25 crore for setting up women's hostels and short-stay homes in all 14 districts; 'She-lodge', temporary housing for working women, to be opened in Kochi,
- Rs 200 crore for Kudumbashree, the iconic state-run women-centric programme,
- An increase in the monthly financial assistance for unwed mothers from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000,
- Rs 50 for schemes aimed at preventing crimes against women,
- Rs 2,000 hike for ASHA workers
- Assistance to panchayats which envisage women-friendly schemes,
- Construction of public toilets for women across the state.
"Although Kerala is number 1 in many indices, we have not been able to give women their due share," the Finance Minister said while presenting the budget.
The difference between the amount allocated exclusively for women last year and the amount allocated this year is almost nil – the Kerala Budget 2017 had set aside Rs 1,266 crore for women including over 64 schemes.
The Kerala Budget 2018 mainly focuses on social security schemes, public health, public education, empowerment of women and the third gender.
This comes a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget for 2018-19 on Thursday in the Parliament. There are several women-friendly highlights in the Union Budget too, which include 8 crore women living below poverty line getting free gas connections, as opposed to the 3 crore last year, lower EPFO rates for new women employees and an increase in allocation of funds to the MUDRA scheme.
As for the Union Budget, Kerala politicians criticised it calling it unrealistic and one that favours corporates.