54% of Rs 740.18 crore 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' expenditure since 2014 has been on media advocacy.

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According to the Women and Child Development Ministry, a total of Rs 401 crore, or roughly 54% of the entire budget, was designated for media campaigning for the prime minister’s signature “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” scheme between 2014 and 22. The programme intends to address issues relating to girls and women’s empowerment throughout the life cycle and the low child sex ratio. The national media and advocacy campaign as well as multi-sectoral initiatives in chosen 405 districts were the scheme’s main components.

Smriti Irani, the minister for women’s and children’s affairs, responded to a question by telling the Lok Sabha that of the $740.18 million in total spending from the fiscal years 2014–15 to 2021–22, 401.04 million, or almost 54%, went toward media advocacy efforts. She explained that since the goal of the BBBP is to change societal attitudes so that girls are valued, there was a greater early investment in media advocacy to raise awareness of the programme and influence behaviour.

She stated in a written answer that the BBBP advocacy campaign had been successful in establishing the brand, which has a high recall value. The tagline has become extremely famous as a result of carefully planned BBBP media efforts, she added, to the point that it is displayed on individual automobiles and serves as the topic for family dinner discussions.

The emphasis on media advocacy campaigns has changed to zero budget or low spending in the last two years, she said since the plan has successfully raised awareness for the cause. Irani responded to a different query by stating that two lakh Anganwadi Centers (40,000 AWCs annually) nationwide have been approved to be upgraded as Saksham Anganwadi by providing better infrastructure, such as Poshan Vatikas for improved quality of services in health, nutrition, and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

Mayank Tewari

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