According to the Ministry of Women and Children, a total of Rs 401 crore was allocated for media promotion of the Prime Minister’s flagship program ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao‘ between 2014 and 2022, which was about 54% of the total expenditure.
The program aims to address issues related to reducing the gender ratio among children and empowering girls and women throughout life. Key components of the program include nationwide media and advocacy campaigns and multisectoral interventions in 405 targeted districts.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani told the Lok Sabha that out of a total expenditure of Rs 740.18 crore from 2014-15 to 2021-22 fiscal, Rs 401.04 crore was spent on media publicity campaigns which are about 54% of the total expenditure.
The government said in a detailed reply that in the year of its inception, in 2014-15, the government used Rs 21.46 crore of the Rs 50 crore allocated on advocacy. In all, Rs 34.84 crore were utilised. Similarly, in 2015-16, Rs 21 crore of the Rs 75 crore allocated was set aside for publicity, and in 2016-17, it was Rs 25.84 crore of the Rs 43 crore allocated.
“Now, as the scheme has been able to create awareness for the cause, focus on media advocacy campaign has been shifted to zero budget or minimal expenditure based in the past 2 years,” the ministry said. Earlier this month, the ministry issued guidelines stating that the scheme will now move towards “zero publicity”, and it will now be extended to adolescent boys, newly married couples and expecting parents.
Responding to another question, Irani said to upgrade Anganwadi Centres, two lakh AWCs (40,000 AWCs per year) across the country have been approved to be upgraded as Saksham Anganwadi by providing better infrastructure including Poshan Vatikas for improved quality of services in health, nutrition and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).