Empowerment of women and weaker sections is no more a slogan but has been translated into a reality by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the 21 months it has been in office.
In the just concluded Municipal elections 10 out of the 11 Municipal Corporations were given to weaker sections and six of them went to women who are heading Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati Municipal Corporations as Mayors. Of the 86 posts of Mayors and Chairpersons, 52 are women ( 60.47 percent) .
Committed to the all-around empowerment of women, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had taken a significant step by giving 52 posts to women, while their quota is only 42 posts. In Corporations alone, six out of 11 mayor posts were allocated to women, 10 out 11 were allotted BC, SC, ST, and Minorities. Similarly, 78 percent of the elected mayors and chairpersons belong to the Dalit and backward communities.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government has provided 50 percent reservations for women and weaker sections in nominated posts and works as well. The commitment reflects in the composition of the cabinet and the choice of Deputy Chief Ministers as well.
Similarly, of the 728 posts of Chairpersons and Directors to the 56 BC Corporations, 368 are women.
Empowerment along with security
The Chief Minister has brought in welfare schemes for social and economic empowerment of women alongside the safety, security, leadership, and basic health schemes.
In the first of its kind by any state in the country, Andhra Pradesh had rolled out special initiatives like Disha Police Stations, special courts, reservations to women in nominated posts, nominated works and market yards. Disha Bill was brought in for speedy trial in cases of crime against women, where 18 special police stations, 13 fast-track courts are being set up across the State.
To address malnutrition and anemia among pregnant and lactating mothers and children aged between 6-72 months, the State government has brought YSR Sampoorna Poshana Plus and YSR Sampoorna Poshana schemes to provide supplementary nutrition through Anganwadi centers. About 30.16 lakh mothers and children are being benefited from the two schemes, where the State has been spending Rs 1,863 Crore per annum, at an expenditure of Rs 1,100 per beneficiary every month. While YSR Sampoorna Poshana Plus is intended to supply nutritious food exclusively in 77 tribal areas covering 8,320 Anganwadi Centres, the remaining urban and rural areas will be covered under YSR Sampoorna Poshana.
Besides these, the State government also brought many schemes focussing on financial empowerment of women, like YSR Cheyutha, Kapu Nestam and Aasara schemes. The schemes are provided to benefit women between 45-60 years belonging to the weaker sections and minorities through entrepreneurship in dairy, grocery, and other chosen fields with an annual incentive of Rs 18,750 for a period of four years. Women of Kapu, Ontari and Balija communities of 45-60 age group are given Rs 15,000 per annum under YSR Kapu Nestham. Also, the State government will be providing financial assistance of Rs 15,000 per annum to women of Economically Backward Class (EBC) who are aged between 45-60 years from 2021-22.
Between June 2019- February 2021, the government had spent Rs 4604.13 Crore towards 24,55,534 beneficiaries of YSR Cheyutha scheme. Similarly, Rs 6792.21 Crore was spent on 87,74,674 beneficiaries of YSR Aasara scheme waiving off the first tranche of SHG loans and Rs 491.79 Crore on 3,27,862 beneficiaries under Kapu Nestam scheme.
In order to provide business opportunities for the women, for a stable income, and a safe investment, the State government had signed MoUs with giant companies like AMUL, Proctor and Gamble, ITC, Allana Group, Reliance, among others in addition to providing zero-interest loans. So far, since June 2019, the government has spent Rs 904.33 Crore by benefiting 51,84,388 women under the Vaddi Leni Runalu scheme.
Apart from these, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had brought in Amma Vodi, which not only addresses the school dropout rate but also resolves the problem of child labour and checking low literacy rate parallel to the lowering the burden on parents in providing quality education to their children. Towards this scheme, the government had spent Rs 13022.93 Crore benefiting 44,48,865 beneficiaries in 2020 and 2021.
For empowering women in rural areas of the State, the government launched Jagananna Jeeva Kranti scheme to distribute over 2.49 lakh sheep and goats units and 4.69 lakh units cows and buffaloes in a phased manner with a cost of Rs 5400 Crore.