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India’s Gender Budget

Context: While presenting the 2023 budget, the Finance Minister stressed on “the importance of Nari Shakti (women power) via women-led development for a bright future.

Gender Budgeting in India

  • In India, the gender budget was first introduced in 2005-2006 in order to keep an account of resource allocation in a way that would help in the achievement of gender mainstreaming and to ensure that the benefits of development reach women as much as men.
  • It has broadly been divided into two parts:
    • Part A comprises schemes that are entirely related to women
    • Part B includes schemes in which at least 30 per cent of the provisions relate to the women.
  • In the last 15 years, the gender budget has seen no significant increase, carrying an average of 4.9 per cent.
  • However, this year’s fiscal budget’s gender component takes into account allocation across 30 union ministries and departments along with the five Union Territories.
  • It accounts for almost 5 per cent of the total government expenditure and 0.8 per cent of India’s GDP.

Budget Allocation

  • As per the current statistics, the Union government’s allocation in the gender budget for schemes focused on mitigating the prevailing gender gap, is more than 2 per cent of the revised estimate in 2022-2023 and 30 per cent more than the budget estimate in the last fiscal year.
  • Budget allocation for autonomous bodies (Central Adoption Resource Agency, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and the National Commission for Women) have also witnessed an increase.

Initiatives to Enhance Economic Empowerment of Women

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM)

  • It is a flagship program of the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The program is aimed at reducing poverty by promoting sustainable livelihood opportunities for the rural poor.
  • Features:
  • Target Group: The program targets the rural poor, including women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, differently-abled persons, and other marginalized groups.
  • Focus on Women Empowerment: Women are encouraged to form self-help groups (SHGs) and federations, which act as a platform for them to engage in income-generating activities and access financial services.
  • The mission has so far mobilised rural women into 81 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs). 

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN)

  • Launched in 2019, the scheme provides income support to small and marginal farmers, where eligible farmers receive direct cash transfers of Rs. 6000 per year, in three equal instalments, directly into their bank accounts.
  • Objective: Besides financial assistance, the scheme is also aimed at ensuring that farmers have access to basic amenities and resources, such as seeds, fertilizers, and equipment.
  • The budget provided financial assistance of more than INR 2.25 lakh crore to small farmers under this scheme, benefiting about three crore women farmers, who will now have access to INR 54,000 crore as a part of the scheme.

Mahila Samman Savings Certificate

  • It is a one-time new small saving scheme that will be available for a 2-year period up to March 2025.
  • This will offer a deposit facility of up to Rs 2 lakh in the name of women or girls for a tenor of 2 years at a fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent with a partial withdrawal option.
  • This newly introduced women-oriented scheme will help women investors to start investing for their short-term financial goals and needs.
  • Compared to other small savings schemes like Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana which has a maximum investment limit of Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year, and also has a long lock-in period of 21 years, MSSC provides an opportunity to invest up to Rs 2 lakh for a tenure of 2 years making it a better investment option for female investors.

Safe City Project

  • It is an initiative implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with various stakeholders such as the police, civil society organizations, and local governments.
  • Launched in 2018, the objective of the Project is to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and violence against women in public spaces. The project seeks to create a safe and secure environment for women to live, work and travel in the city.
  • The budget allocation of this project rose eight times of the 2022-23 revised budget, increasing from INR 165 crore to INR 1300 crore.

Samarthya Umbrella Scheme

  • Introduced by the MoWCD in 2021—that comprises women empowerment programmes like the Pradhan Mantri Vandana Yojana and Swadhar Greh, was allocated 33 per cent higher funds than the revised estimates of the 2022-23 budget.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(MGNREGS):

  • It is aimed at providing livelihood security to rural households by guaranteeing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • The MGNREGS promotes women’s empowerment in rural areas in several ways such as:
  • Employment Generation: The MGNREGS has led to a significant increase in the number of women employed in the rural areas, as the program specifically mandates that at least one-third of the beneficiaries must be women.
  • Equal Wages: The MGNREGS provides equal wages to both men and women, which has helped in reducing gender-based wage discrimination.
  • Skill Development: The MGNREGS provides opportunities for women to develop skills and gain experience in different fields such as construction, horticulture, and agriculture.
  • The budget allocation for the scheme within the gender budget, is worth INR 25,000 crore.

Other Schemes:

  • Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan
  • Flexible Pool for RCH and Health System Strengthening
  • National Health Programmes and Nation Urban Health Missions
  • Samagra Shiksha scheme;
  • Samarthya scheme for women empowerment; and
  • Swachh Bharat Mission

All of which together account for about INR 45,000 crore.

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What is the full form of DAY-NRLM?

Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM)

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