Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said Bangladesh has been a role model in women's empowerment and development due to timely implementation of policies and strategies under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In his budget speech, the Finance Minister said the government is committed to empowering women in political, economic and social spheres.
“We are also committed to the elimination of gender inequality and the establishment of children's rights through the implementation of all plans, implementation of various activities in line with the National Women's Development Policy 2011 and integrating them into the mainstream of overall development.”
He proposed an allocation of Tk 4,191 crore for the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which was Tk 3,860 crore in FY 2020-2021.
In line with the 8th Five-Year Plan, he said infrastructure development and communication services for women are being enhanced and institutional capacity is being strengthened to ensure women's capacity, economic participation and benefits, and opportunity for raising their voice and representation. He said the government is always striving to ensure protection of women and children from any kind of violence and implementing an incentive package for women to enable them to address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and facilitate economic recovery.
“We are providing maternity allowances and working and lactating mother allowances to meet the health and nutritional needs of poor pregnant women in rural and urban areas and ensure complete development of the child, and we are running micro-credit activities to ensure self-employment of women.”
Mustafa Kamal said the government has been implementing activities under the Multi-sectoral Program for Prevention of Violence against Women. In addition, One-Stop Crisis Centers for women and children victims of violence in divisional districts and medical college hospitals in six districts have been set up. A total of 67 One-Stop Crisis Cells, including 47 in district sadar hospitals and 20 in upazila health complexes, have been established.
The Child Daycare Act 2021 has been drafted and awaits enactment. “We are establishing daycare centres for children, expanding child development centres for extremely poor and marginalised children.
“We have planned to eliminate child marriage for children under the age of 15 by 2021. Steps have been taken to make less educated, poor and helpless women self-reliant by providing income generating training and IT training.”
Projects for the establishment of Community Nursing Degree College for Women in Dhaka, and the ‘Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs to Gain Economic Empowerment at the Grassroots Level’ are in progress.
“We will continue this pace of development by implementing all these activities and ensuring the prevention of violence against women, workplace safety for women and their overall socio-economic development,” the Finance Minister added.