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Budget 2020: Nirmala Sitharaman’s roadmap for women

Feb 01, 2020

Civil society and corporate world reacts to budgetary provisions that are aimed at benefiting women.

New Delhi: Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures with the aim of boosting people's income and their purchasing power.

Overall, the budget seems to take measured approach towards infrastructure and tax reforms keeping fiscal deficit and inflation in view.

OneWorld South Asia brings comprehensive post- budget 2018-19 reactions on budget’s gender sensitivity from the Civil society and corporate world.

Sadiya Khan, Founder, Akund Communications.

According to a recent report by World Bank, despite making up 48% of the Indian population, women have not benefitted equally from its economic growth. 65% of women are literate compared to 80% of men.

Budget 2019-2020 did not have much to offer to the Indian women but this year the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has allotted of Rs. 28,600 cr for Women-Centric programmes in FY21 which will be deployed for schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila E-Haat, Working Women Hostel, Mahila Police Volunteer, NIRBHAYA, SWADHAR Greh and other such schemes. This will encourage women to come out, educate themselves and become independent, increasing women workforce in the country."

Kaustubh Sonalkar, President-HR & Admin and CEO-Essar Foundation

One of the Union Budget’s highlights was the focus on ‘Building a Caring Society’, which is a significant step towards gender sensitivity. The laudable decision, to appoint a task force that will present its recommendations regarding the issue about the optimum age of a girl to enter into motherhood, roots for her empowerment.

Higher education, better health and increased employment opportunities not only makes her a force to reckon with, but also takes gender inclusivity to rural India. The gender-responsive budget should bolster women’s empowerment, and thereby lead to a more inclusive and powerful India Inc.

Jiji John, Executive Director, Child Help Foundation.

The focus on Health and Education continues to be a focus area in this Budget which is a good sign. Only a Healthy generation can ensure steady growth of individual and the country's economic progress. The holistic vision of healthcare to cover new diseases was a very important decision with new diseases outbreak happening on regular intervals.

There should be an increase in allocation of funds for upgradation of the Hospital facilities to ensure basic services and quality medical facilities to the needy and the PPP model hospitals is definitely going to enable the same.

Higher enrollment of girls compared to boys in the schools shows that the gender inequality has considerably reduced, which is a sign of progress. Women empowerment is the fundamental requirement for a country's progress. The Rs. 3000 crores allocation for skill development would give a boost to that.

The progress of the Nation is guaranteed once the basic Health and Education needs are taken care of. The availability of medicines at affordable rates under Jan Aushadhi Kendras in all districts in a welcome move in addition to the holistic vision of healthcare and education. We are very excited to support all the programmes related to Health and Education in addition to the other programmes under Water, Sanitation, Menstrual Hygiene, Zero Hunger and Calamity Relief.

Shikha Mittal, Founder& Director Be.artsy.

It is a welcome step that the govt has once again increased the allocation for women related programs, which is now ₹28,600 crore. There is a lot that can be done to increase awareness among workers, labour and office staff to sensitise them to women's safety in the workplace.

A good start has been made with the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on training programs to prevent and redress issues of sexual harassment at the workplace. Now, this needs to be carried to the grassroots by impactful programs.

There is a lot of scope, since the budget has not been fully utilised in earlier years. Be.artsy has had great success with its IT'S NOT OK campaign to prevent sexual harassment by educating and sensitising the workforce. We have executed this campaign in 9 languages, covering 25,000+ people in five States all over India. We look forward to working with the government on this important aspect of women's safety.

Shravan Charya, Founder, SocioLadder

Grassroot level transformation in implementation and impact reporting is crucial for the largely positive and progressive budget.

Out of the many topics in the division of three prominent themes laid down by the Government, it is praiseworthy that sectors such as Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development; Wellness, Water and Sanitation; Women & Child Social Welfare and Environment and Climate Change also form a crucial part of the Union Budget, 2020.

There is an emphasis on climate change and women, child and social welfare. Grassroot level implementation and its effective reporting is imperative to realize the ambitious budgetary allocation into viable developmental impact.

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