Today’s budget announcement by the Himanta Biswa Sarma Government in Assam reflects a profound commitment to empowering women across various spheres of life. With a keen focus on education, entrepreneurship, and social welfare, the budget provisions underscore the Government’s dedication to fostering gender equality and inclusivity. Let’s delve into the significant initiatives outlined in the budget, designed to uplift and support women throughout the State.
Mukhya Mantri Nijut Moina (MMNM):
One of the standout initiatives introduced in the budget is the Mukhya Mantri Nijut Moina (MMNM) scheme. This groundbreaking program aims to support the education of one million girls, providing them with financial grants to pursue higher secondary, graduation, and post-graduation studies. By incentivising education and providing financial assistance, the Government seeks to eliminate child marriages and empower girls to make informed decisions about their future.
Under the MMNM scheme, eligible girls studying in Government colleges or educational institutions will receive admission incentives ranging from Rs. 10,000 for Class Eleven to Rs. 15,000 for postgraduate courses. By allocating Rs 240 crore towards this scheme, the Government demonstrates its commitment to ensuring equal access to education for girls and promoting academic excellence among young women.
Mukhya Mantri Mahila Udyamita Abhiyaan:
In addition to prioritising education, the budget emphasises the importance of women’s economic empowerment through the Mukhya Mantri Mahila Udyamita Abhiyaan. This ambitious mission aims to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of women across the State by providing them with the necessary financial support and resources to establish and grow their businesses.
Through this initiative, over 39 lakh women members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in rural areas will receive an entrepreneurship fund of Rs. 10,000 each, along with the opportunity to access bank loans of at least Rs. 25,000.
Furthermore, beneficiaries who demonstrate prudent utilisation and timely repayment of loans will receive a capital subsidy of Rs 12,500, thereby ensuring a total grant, subsidy, and loan package of Rs 47,500 per beneficiary.
By extending the Mukhya Mantri Mahila Udyamita Abhiyaan to urban areas, the Government aims to empower a wider demographic of women entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth and prosperity across the State.
Orunodoi 2.0 – Expanding and More Inclusive:
Another significant aspect of the budget is the expansion and inclusivity of the Orunodoi program, which provides financial assistance to vulnerable households, including women, transgender individuals, and individuals with disabilities. With the introduction of Orunodoi 2.0, the program now encompasses households with individuals suffering from various medical conditions, ensuring that the benefits reach those most in need.
The expansion of Orunodoi to include an additional 2.5 lakh beneficiaries underscores the Government’s commitment to social welfare and poverty alleviation. By integrating ration cards with Orunodoi on a pilot basis, the Government aims to streamline access to essential services and improve the quality of life for beneficiaries.
Furthermore, by considering insurance coverage under schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, the Government demonstrates its dedication to safeguarding the well-being and financial security of vulnerable individuals and families.
Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme:
Lastly, the budget allocates significant resources towards the Assam Micro Finance Incentive and Relief Scheme, which provides assistance to poor women borrowers facing financial hardships. By extending support to borrowers with outstanding principal amounts ranging from Rs. 25,001 to Rs. 50,000, the Government aims to alleviate financial burdens and promote economic resilience among women in need.
With a budgetary allocation of Rs 550 crore for this scheme, the Government underscores its commitment to supporting vulnerable individuals and communities, ensuring that no one is left behind in the journey towards economic prosperity and social well-being.
The woman-centric budget provisions introduced by the Himanta Biswa Government in Assam represent a significant step towards achieving gender equality, economic empowerment, and social inclusion. By prioritising education, entrepreneurship, and social welfare, the Government lays the groundwork for a more equitable and prosperous society, where women have the opportunity to thrive and succeed. As these initiatives take root and flourish, they have the potential to transform the lives of millions of women across the State, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all.