New Delhi | Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today said the budget of her ministry has not been slashed and in fact several schemes have got more funds totalling over Rs 10,000 crore, prompting queries from the opposition.
The Minister said this in Rajya Sabha following which Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asked where these additional funds had come from as the money alloted to various schemes had been reduced in the annual budget.
Gandhi claimed that the budget of her ministry had not been reduced but there were an addition Rs 10,000 crore for the programmes.
She was responsing to a question about the budget of schemes like ICDS, IGMSY and SABLA, which opposition members including Singh, said had been reduced.
Emphasing on the government’s attempts to curb malnutrition, Gandhi said our budget has not decreased. Infact in the last few days, we have received Rs 10,000 crore more. When you (Congress led UPA) left, you were feeding children at Rs 4, we have increased it to Rs 6 immediately. And now we have got permission to raise it to Rs 10, We will increase feeding to curb malnutrition.
She said 70,000 new Anganwadi centres will also come up as she spoke about a ‘pilot project’ of another ongoing scheme.
After Gandhi spoke, Digivijaya Singh asked how the minister could claim that the budget of her ministry had increased, as from figures it could be seen that the funds of various schemes have been brought down.
Gandhi replied that after the 13th Finance Commission recommendations, the funds of the state governments had been increased and so has been their contribution towards many of these schemes.
She also said the problem of malnutrition affected the poorer sections more and the government was working to improve their conditions in its National Nutrition Mission.
The Opposition questions to Gandhi came in the backdrop of her statements last year that budget cuts in her ministry would adversely affect the fight against child malnutrition and make it difficult to pay wages of millions of health workers.