Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao: Below par spending initially due to lack of awareness, says the ministry

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has informed the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women that the funds under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme were underutilized in the early years of the scheme due to “lack of awareness and information” regarding the scheme .

In its 5th report on the women empowerment submitted in Lok Sabha in the Winter session last year, the committee had raised concerns over the underutilization of funds as well as larger spending on advertising, instead of on the health and education of girls.

The ministry’s replies to the concerns raised by the committee were submitted as part of the action-taken report in the 6th part, tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

“The committee found that out of Rs 446.72 crore released during 2016-2019, a whopping 78.91% was spent on media advocacy. Although the committee understands the necessity to undertake a media campaign to spread the message of BBBP (Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao) among the people, they feel that it is equally important to balance the objectives of the scheme…Now, it is time to focus on other verticals by making ample financial provisions to help achieve measurable outcomes related to education and health envisaged under the scheme,” the committee had said in its previous report.

In its reply to the committee’s concerns, the WCD Ministry said that the BBBP scheme works in synergy with other line ministries and schemes.

“As a result, the BBBP objective is often pursued in programs funded under other schemes. While there has been savings under BBBP, it is not indicative of inaction/failure of the program… The advertisement expense should be viewed in correlation with the expenditure budget of other women-centric schemes on education, health, nutrition, safety and security, skills etc.,” the ministry has said.

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