Amaravati: Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy on 8 March said Andhra Pradesh will introduce a gender budget in this year's budget, clearly listing out the expenditure for women's welfare through various schemes. He said AP will be the first state in the country to implement the gender budget concept.

Participating in the international women's day celebrations at the camp office here on Monday, the Chief Minister virtually inaugurated women help desks in all police stations across the state along with cyber kiosks. He also launched Swechha programme to create awareness on menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls and flagged off a fleet of 900 Disha patrolling vehicles and 18 Disha crime scene management vehicles.

Stating that women should get equal economic, social, and political rights, Jagan said the government has introduced several schemes for the welfare of women in the state by spending Rs. 80,000 crores in 21 months. Besides ensuring women's welfare, the government is also focused on empowering women and has passed laws to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in all nominated posts and nominated works, he added.

Jagan said free biodegradable sanitary napkins will be provided to all girl students from classes 7-12 in all government schools from 1 July. Also, they would be made available at low prices in Cheyutha grocery stores across the state from 1 July, he said.

He said casual leaves for women have been increased to 20 from 15 and that workplace committees to prevent harassment against women will be made mandatory in all government and private institutions. Jagan instructed the chief secretary to set up a committee in the Secretariat as a first step.

Home Minister Mekatoti Sucharitha, women and child welfare minister Thaneti Vanitha, women's commission chairperson Vasireddy Padma, chief secretary Adityanath Das, DGP Gautam Sawang, and MLA Undavalli Sridevi were present.

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