This year’s desired or estimated budget for women and child development is Rs 25,448 crore which is barely up from the previous year. There is no substantial increase in portfolio allocation related to the umbrella scheme Mission Shakti under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
I continue to be hopeful that budgetary allocations related to socio-eco-political development can enable women to participate fully in their citizenship role.
The FM made an announcement related to a one-time small saving scheme (Mahila Samman Bachat Patra) for a period of two years for women, offering a rate of interest at 7.5% with scope for partial withdrawal. Such a deposit can be in the name of a woman / girl child.
The second and only mention with regards to women was the economic empowerment of women, in this context the Government mentioned that 81 lakh women across rural India have become members of SHGs and a fresh budget is allocated towards the creation of larger collectives and formalizing them.
However, women’s empowerment does not just mean an increase in budgets related to the women-centric program, rather it is about mainstreaming gender across budgets.
So, when the FM announced budget allocation towards job creation for youth, development of skill labs for youth, the allocation for research in pharmacology for advancing scientific treatments and so on, they need to have “gender” in its very DNA.
This is also inkeeping with G-20 leadership summit wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured thatIndia will give priority to women-led development agenda and that there are specific steps planned towards it.
Sangeeta Rege is a director at Cehat. Her areas of interest are gender gender based violence health systems and medical education.
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