Renewed government drive for gender-based budgeting

Renewed government drive for gender-based budgeting


A National Policy for Women has been proposed by the Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), a division of the NITI Aayog, to increase gender equality and female labour force participation in the nation. To standardise gender-based budgeting across all ministries in all states and Union Territories, the DMEO has also campaigned for the creation of the Gender Budgeting Act. Numerous studies have shown that the covid-19 epidemic has pulled women out of employment globally. The NITI Aayog's campaign for gender budgeting is undoubtedly a necessary and positive step in the correct direction in light of this situation.

Since 2005, when India started producing gender budgets, numerous gender-related concerns have come to light, like the underrepresentation of women in the labour field, the harmful effects of covid on women and girls, etc. How much real progress have we made toward gender-responsive budgeting so far?

As shown by numerous authoritative studies, I don't believe we have made much progress at all. This bleak situation is shown every year in the Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum. In every area, including safety, workforce engagement, health, and well-being, women are treated very unfairly. Women's rights attorney Flavia Agnes said during a panel discussion on ET NOW that we are only pretending to care about gender balance and equity.

Furthermore, our administration keeps disputing any such damning evidence. The fact that India currently occupies the 140th spot out of 156 countries in the world's gender gap rating is quite humiliating, Agnes continues.

Can India overcome its most pressing gender challenges by mainstreaming gender budgeting? To promote gender development, very specific actions must be implemented. To make sure that our current budgets truly function, we must first establish efficient follow-up systems. The government must also be open and honest about the results of the budgets, and if necessary, adjust its course. Second, it is necessary to increase the gender responsiveness of several current social programmes. For instance, even though women are the Jal Jeevan Mission's main beneficiaries, men make all of the decisions relating to water supply, distribution, etc. Women manage the water supply in their homes by going to get it. There is a disconnect between what we want to accomplish and what we are doing, says Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of Shakti. This is because we neglected to take such important factors into account while formulating our policies.

"Our lack of the appropriate analytical tools is the bigger issue. There is enough research being done on this topic globally, so the bigger trends in our efforts to advance gender equality are clear, but we lack information on the specific areas where we are failing. Are there any areas where we need to improve gender budgeting, its application, or the way we treat women in general? To be able to find and address the major policy flaws, we require thorough economic analysis, says the author Krishnaswamy.

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