An ambitious effort of government towards women empowerment has fallen apart, thanks to the lack of consistency and the budget.

“Women Awareness and Income Generation Programme,” initiated in 1919 had an aim of providing direct benefit to more than 4,00,000 women of all 75 districts of the country.

Following the government’s commitment to work for uplifting socio-economic and political status of womenfolk during the Beijing summit, the planning commission had designed a long term concept to involve women in mainstream development activities through gender equality and women empowerment efforts. Although the constitution has availed rights to women equal to the men, the situation is upside down with women having no share in the socio-economic or political decision making.

A source at the concerned ministry said that the government’s failure to provide the committed resources was the main hurdle to the programme. “We were running smoothly for the first phase. The programme was launched in 942 Village Development Committees (VDCs) where 75 thousand women from 10 thousand groups generated Rs 35 million, 25 million out of that has been invested in different productive sectors,” it said.

The programme could not be introduced to other new areas as it failed to enter the second phase. “The government had agreed to provide Rs 80 million annually for the first and second phase of the programme, another 100 million for the final phase, but mere 60 million has been given so far,” the source claimed.

It further added that neither any INGOs nor any other donor agencies could be mobilised to support the programme. “Besides, ineffective Local Governance Act has also caused the problem.”