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Welfare of widows: Central funds slashed drastically

Ministry of Women and Child Development is presently administering two shelter-based central sector schemes — Swadhar and Short Stay Home, for rehabilitation of women without any social or economic support.

Citing dismal figures, the government said that for the year 2015-16 there has been no amount which has been sanctioned or released under the Short Stay Home scheme. Meanwhile, the amount dispensed under this scheme has radically dipped, from Rs 2,860.05 lakh being allocated in 2012-13, with a slight rise to Rs 2,987.31 lakh in 2013-14 and then massively slipping to Rs 1,810.16 lakh being allocated in 2014-15. Shockingly, there has been no amount sanctioned for this year.

Presently, there are 322 Short Stay Homes in India with a capacity to accommodate 9,660 women in the country. For 2014-15, under the Short Stay Home scheme, the highest amount was allocated to Uttar Pradesh, receiving Rs 249.49 lakhs.

Even the Swadhar Homes paint a dismal financial picture. Currently, there are as many as 311 Swadhar homes with a total capacity of 17,760. Under the scheme, the amount released for 2015-16 (as on December 8, 2015) is Rs 776.89 lakh, significantly decreasing from Rs 1,660.32 lakh sanctioned in 2014-15, while in 2013-14, an amount of Rs 2,018.55 lakh was released. Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount under this scheme as well, with a whopping amount of Rs 253.49 lakh being sanctioned for the year.

The main objective of both the schemes — Swadhar and Short Stay Home — is to provide primary needs of shelter, food, clothing and medical care to the women. The schemes also provide skill training and counselling. The implementing agencies eligible for assistance are social welfare/women and child welfare, departments of state governments, women development corporations and voluntary organisations.
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