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Kerala budget focuses on women safety, proposes public register
 
(Thiruvananthapuram, march,03,2017): Giving thrust to women's safety, the 201718 Kerala budget on Friday set apart Rs 68 crore for various schemes to prevent atrocities against them, besides proposing a public register of sexual offenders.

While announcing the measures in the budget presented in the Assembly, Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Issac said, "Atrocities against women are a disgrace to the Malayalee community."

Women's safety came under scanner yet again when a Malayalam actress was harassed for two hours inside her car after the accused forced their way into the vehicle in Kochi recently.

Issac said Rs 68 crore has been provided for different schemes to prevent atrocities against women and focus on their rehabilitation. This includes Rs 12 crore for 'Pink Control Room' and selfdefence training and Rs 34 crore for awareness campaigns.

Besides, Rs 19.5 crore will be allocated for shelter homes, short stay homes and 'onestop crisis centre' and Rs three crore for two SOS model homes.

A women's police battalion, women police stations at taluklevel, panchayatlevel visits of women police officers, public register for sexual offenders are the other prowomen initiatives in the budget.

On February 23, Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam had said the Kerala government will launch a registry of sex offenders, the first of its kind in the country. It will contain all identification details of sex offenders and would be kept in public domain.

The state finance minister on Friday said Rs five crore has been earmarked for a special fund for protection and speedy rehabilitation of victims.

A special department for women will be formed in the financial year 201718. The social welfare schemes for women, presently under the Social Justice Department, will be shifted to this new department.

He said gender budgeting is being reinstated and the State Planning Board has prepared a document under which allocations for women's development have been divided into two parts.

Part A includes 64 schemes exclusively for women beneficiaries with an allocation of Rs 1,060.50 crore. This amount will come to 5.23 per cent of the total state plan outlay, excluding the plan of local bodies, he said.

Part B includes general development schemes in which a special component for women or beneficiary numbers of women is distinguishable. "This will help in formulating more comprehensive document in the future," he said.

The minister said in the next year's budget, gender audit report will also be placed in theHouse along with the gender budget statement.

The total outlay involved in 104 schemes is Rs 13,400 crore. Of this, Rs 1,266 crore is allocated exclusively for women. Thus at least 11.5 per cent of the total plan outlay has been set apart for women development.

Finance Minister Thomas Issac, while presenting the budget for 201718 in the Kerala assembly on Friday, announced free medicines for people suffering from lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol.

Issac said the medicines would be supplied through the staterun hospitals at all levels.

"I am setting aside Rs 10 crore for revamping facilities at the Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals which will be producing these medicines," said Issac, who hails from Alappuzha district, where the factory is based.

Studies have pointed out that in Kerala 22 per cent of the population above the age of 25 has been diagnosed with diabetes and is heading to become the diabetic capital of the country.

Likewise, hypertension is on the increase and affects more than 20 per cent of adult population and when it came to incidence of cholesterol it has been found out that almost 50 per cent of the general adult population in the state is on the higher side in cholesterol levels.


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