[Answered]Women empowerment in India needs gender budgeting. What are the requirements and status of gender budgeting in the Indian context?

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Importance of gender budgeting in women empowerment. Requirements of gender budgeting in India. Status of gender budgeting.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Gender Budgeting is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that the benefits of development reach women as much as men. The rationale for gender budgeting arises from recognition of the fact that national budgets impact men and women differently through the pattern of resource allocation. Women constitute 48% of India’s population, but they lag behind men on many social indicators like health, education, economic opportunities, etc. and thus, gender budgeting is important.

Gender budgeting status in India:

  1. Gender Budget Statement was first introduced in Budget 2005-06. Various ministries and department provide information to finance ministry based on which Gender Budget Statement is prepared.
  2. This helps to monitor expenditure and public service delivery from a gender perspective, as a means of mainstreaming women’s concerns in all activities and improving their access to public resources.
  3. Also it was instructed to all the ministries and departments, to open Gender Budgeting Cell (GBC).

Status of Gender Budgeting.

  1. But it has been little more than a decade but progress of gender budgeting is not very encouraging:
  • Only 57 Ministries/departments so far have established GBC.
  • Over the last decade the allocation for women as a proportion of total budget has remained constant at 5.5 per cent.
  • Only about 30% of all the demand for grant presented to union government are reported in gender budgeting statement.
  • About 85% of the budgetof the Ministry of Women and Child Development is allocated to 1CDS leaving only 15% for other schemes meant for women.
  • National Women Commission have budget allocation sufficient enough to meet revenue

The requirement and importance of Gender Budgeting:

  1. There are certain issues with women that gender budgeting will help curb those e.g. security of women where specific budgetary allocations under the Nirbhaya Fund has been done.
  2. Gender budgeting aims at making society more gender equal by allocating resources to programmes and schemes that will reduce and/or eliminate prejudice existing against a particular gender.
  3. Literacy rate is 65% among women. Women are under representation in Parliament (only 11% MP are women). Labour force participation is just 33%. Hence, financial allocation through gender budgeting was identified as a potent tool to ensure women empowerment.
  4. Gender budgeting in a way help in assessment of the extent to which the sector’s policy addresses the gender issues and gaps described in the first step. Thus, help to implement gender-sensitive policies and programmes.

However not all is negative about Gender budgeting in India, certain new trends are encouraging. A positive trend over the past couple of years has been the pre-budget consultations organised by the Ministry of Finance, aimed at ensuring that the voices of women are also heard in the budget making process. The Finance Minister has proposed to increase the gender budget allocation to Rs 131,700 crore for 2019-20 from Rs 121,961 crore a year ago.

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