The Sindh Women Development Department has submitted a budget proposal of Rs550 million for the upcoming fiscal year, and wants the government to release the funds in one go unlike this year.
In the 2011-12 financial year, the department was allocated Rs400 million, out of which Rs317.8 million was granted under the Annual Development Programme. However, the department has spent only Rs6.7 million or about two per cent of the total funds.
Sindh Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto claims this was due to her department being the last one to be given the budget money.
“Eighty per cent of our budget funds were released last month only. How are we supposed to utilise all this money before June 30,” she exclaimed, while talking to The Express Tribune. “We are the most neglected department in the provincial government.”
The minister also complained that the department is not taken seriously. “The funds should be released in lump sum,” she said. “We want to establish hostels for working women in every district of the province, and want to establish a cottage industry by picking out talented women.”
“We got around 20 per cent of the total allocation last October and used the money in the best possible ways for the uplift of women,” she said. But most of the development schemes were limited to the training of women in rural Sindh.
Bhutto said that women in all 23 districts of the province are being taught to run day-care centres. The department plans to establish around nine day-care centres in Sindh with three of them in Karachi.
The health insurance of a number of women working in bangle factories and other hazardous workplaces has been carried out by the department. A sale and display resource centre is about to kick off that will exhibit handicrafts made by poor women of rural Sindh. They would be given a chance to showcase their talents and earn money through their work. A women complex, including a complaint centre, is functioning in Nawabshah, where a shelter home is expected to be established soon.
The minister said that young women are being technically trained in various skills across the province. Currently, beautician courses and trainings are being offered to 600 girls, while 250 girls are being given entrepreneurship training and 400 more for skills management.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2012.