Gender Budget – 2017
Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley has announced an 18% increase in spending over women to 1.84 Lakh Crore in 2017 Union Budget. While announcing these benefits in his budget speech Shri Jaitley said – ‘sabkaa saath, sabkaa vikas’ (prosperity for everyone with everyone) starts with girl child and women. With this announcement, the union government has officially outcast every boys and men including those who live in rural areas.
Out of this 1.84 lakh crore budget investment on women, there are programs announced for lactating mothers and pregnant women which is anyway need to be looked at expenditure on our future generation. But there are 500 crores budgetary expenditure on skill development, employment, digital literacy, health, and nutrition by setting up Mahila Shakti Kendras in rural areas.
This kind of budgetary policies would not have raised any concern because this is supposed to be for improving condition of rural people but the problem comes when we see rural boys being heavily neglected. Our census data shows 30% rural women take part in the workforce compared to 15% urban women. Now with this new provision, rural girls will get free skill development training while rural boys will be forced to take up difficult and less paying agricultural roles. Those farmers will continue to commit suicide while women will be upskilled for better job profiles.
But is gender budgeting really good for women? Will these women contribute to our economy? Statistics from International Monetary Fund (IMF). World Bank and other global organizations prove otherwise.
2018 Gender Budget
In 2018 too, we find there is a 4% increase in women’s budget. Allocation increased under ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ program. Allocation under maternity benefits program is 2400 crore. Gender budget allocation has also increased in ‘Nirbhaya Fund’. There is yet another scheme under EPF, that allows women employees to contribute only 8% for first three years, whereas the govt. will contribute 12%. So the additional 4% of tax money is actually paid by men and their welfare is denied under this budget.
IMF Report on Gender Budgeting
In a 2016 IMF report on ‘gender budgeting and its effects in Asian countries,’ the effect of gender budgeting was studied. This report showed that not only on budget allocation but gender budgeting can be achieved on revenue side budgeting like tax exemption too.
Note, India is taking up all different gender budgeting initiatives.
It is also observed from the IMF report that India has improved significantly in terms of Gross Enrollment in Secondary Education compared to that in 1990 and achieved almost equal enrolment in secondary education.
Spend on Women and Labor Force Participation
However, in terms of labor force participation, it was observed that the ratio of female to male workers has reduced in 2013 compared to that in 1990 –
Another study of world’s top 20 countries where women attained more higher education compared to men are found NOT participating in the economy, too –
Gender Budgeting – A Mere Waste
So the question is, while India is providing more and more for our women in every gender budget and trying to bring them to mainstream economy, are these women becoming increasingly careless about participating in the economy? This is surely an increasing waste for the Indian economy as the figures above show, while Indian males continue to pay the price for all such dependents.
This kind of wastage in the economy is never highlighted anywhere as there are enough agencies working for creating a NEED for such policies while there is none working for welfare for those boys permanently handicapped of all opportunities.
When our intellectual resources and social researchers are thinking only about women and their welfare and when so much money is earned and spent only for women in the name of gender equality, how can we expect any welfare for these boys and men? Today, the so-called gender warriors are all concerned about women-centric researches resulting depriving our boys and men while they continue to bear the burden of women.
So while India is continuously increasing its budget spent on women, Indian women are increasingly becoming a burden on Indian men in the name of development and equality.