Union Budget 2012: What does it offer to women?

Union Budget 2012: What does it offer to women?

Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 21:54
Comments 6  
Union Budget 2012: What does it offer to women? Bhumika Jhamb/CBGA

We celebrated 101th International Women’s Day this year. However, discrimination against women continues to be a devastating reality in our country. In order to ensure that policy commitments are backed by financial outlays and that gender perspective is incorporated at all stages of a policy or a programme, Gender Budgeting was introduced by the government.

The total magnitude of the Gender Budget (outlays earmarked for women) has declined from 6.1 percent (2010-11 BE) to 5.8 percent (2011-12 RE). Further, there is a marginal increase of 0.1 percent in 2012-13 over the previous year. The coverage of ‘Gender Budgeting Statement’ in terms of the number of Union Government ministries/departments reporting in the Gender Budgeting Statement has remained stagnant at 33 for the sixth consecutive year. Except for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, there is no new addition. Moreover, no steps have been taken to review the format of the Gender Budgeting Statement.

The budget allocation for Ministry of Women and Child Development has been increased from Rs.16100 crore (2011-12 RE) to Rs.18500 crore (2012-13 BE), an increase of 15 % at current prices.

The Steering Committee on Women’s Agency and Empowerment for the 12th Plan had suggested several important interventions to address the gender based disadvantages confronting women and girls. Of these, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a few namely, women’s helpline, development of distance learning programme on the rights of women, implementation of protection of women from domestic violence act, relief to and rehabilitation of rape victims albeit with token allocations for most of them. Infact, no funds have been allocated for Swayamsidha Phase II that as per the 11th Plan was supposed the main vehicle for women’s empowerment.

For most of the existing schemes, the outlays fall far short of those proposed by the Steering Committee on Women’s Agency and Empowerment for the 12th Plan. Allocations for schemes such as Priyadarshini, STEP, Hostels for Working Women have registered a marginal increase over the previous year. This is despite the fact that 2012-13 marks the first year of 12th Five Year Plan.

Most of the government flagship schemes continue to rely on underpaid labour of women. In the Budget 2012-13 also, while the role of ASHAs – the backbone of the National Rural Health Mission has been enlarged further, there is no mention by the Finance Minister to regularise their services. ASHAs will continue to get their remuneration based on activities they perform and targets they are able to achieve.

To ensure women’s empowerment in true sense, it is imperative that women’s capabilities and choices are enhanced. The Department of Science and Technology, traditionally perceived as not “women related”, has launched several interventions exclusively targeting women in order to promote women’s participation in technical fields. It has launched another new scheme, ‘Disha’ in this year’s budget to facilitate the mobility of women scientists. The government needs to emulate such interventions recognizing specific gender based disadvantages that women and girls encounter.

(The author is Programme Officer, CBGA)
First Published: Friday, March 16, 2012, 21:54
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 Your comment(s) on this article
this dudget is very poor for us
sanjay gupta - surat
Not a technical expert on the agenda layed down here, but to me what matters the most is the safety of the women in the country and there upbringing with total equality. One thing i would want to change in this country is the idea of treating women as sex obs. They are supposed to be given utmost importance in the society. I know the subject is different here, but the agenda is the same, Women Empowerment!! I wish there comes a day when i read the paper in the morning where there is no news about rapes and women treated like slaves. Sorry if this is not meant to be discussed here but really the anger this subject is hyped in commen men these days and i wanted to express my views.
Gary - Delhi
I wanted to commend on the issue, but my technical knowledge on the subject is near to Zero. When a particular percentage is set aside for Women, they also are enjoying something from the general allocation therefore the speak of schemes and percentages will be partly misleading for a layman like me. This does not mean the report contains vocabulary that I can not comprehend, but the total idea is designed in such a way will confuse, and could be explained this way or that way.
abdul kareem - Calicut
The target of 30% gender allocations under all ministries has not yet been achieved. This must be implemented immediately. There is need for gender audit and gender outcome appraisal of all ministries and departments at the central and state levels. Very often, resource allocations made under gender budgeting do not reach in time and they remain unspent. There should be proper monitoring and supervision of the allocated funds with greater transparency and accountability at all levels.
Prof. Vibhuti Patel - Mumbai
Why interest on housing loan has not been increased?
Somesh Sharma - Pune
I dont know about decline from 6.1% to 5.8% but one thing is sure.Women earning 1.9 lakh were not taxed earlier when men had exemption for 1.8 lakh only.Now both are exempt upto 2 lakh.Clear benefit of Rs.3000/- is gone for women
sandy - delhi
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