Eural women’s education programme gets Rs.2.1 bn


New Delhi : An amount of Rs.2.1 billion was Friday approved by the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) for expanding the Mahila Samkhya programme (MSP) during 2007-12 for the educational empowerment of rural women.

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A joint initiative of the Britain-based Department for International Development (DIFD) and the Indian government, the MSP was launched in 1989 to implement the goals of the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 to empower rural women, particularly from the socially and economically marginalised groups.

“The total expenditure will be shared by the DIFD and the government of India 90:10 basis,” Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal told reporters while briefing them about the CCEA meeting.

“The total DIFD commitment is for an amount of 35 million pounds and will be disbursed from 2007-08 at the rate of five million pounds per year. The programme will continue in 11 states and expand to more states and 58-60 additional districts in the 11th plan period,” he said.

The MSP is currently being implemented in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand spread over 83 districts and covering 21,000 villages.

The MSP recognises the centrality of education in empowering women to achieve equality. The Mahila Sanghas (women groups) at the village level provide the women a space to meet, reflect, ask questions and articulate their thoughts and needs and make informed choices.