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Spearheading Women Empowerment

What is Women Empowerment?

1. Empowerment is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and multi-layered concept.

2. Women empowerment is a process in which women gain greater share of control over resources such as material, human, intellectual and financial resources.

Why is Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) significant?

1. The Union Budget 2019-20 is the 15th Budget to incorporate the concept of GRB since its adoption by India in 2005-06.

2. GRB is considered a powerful fiscal tool to back efforts towards gender equality with financial commitments as it not only involves resource allocation for women’s programs but the application of a gender lens to the entire budget keeping in view the different needs of men and women.

3. The Government is also shifting its approach from women-centric to women-led Initiatives (“Naari Tu Narayani”).

4. The overall Gender Budget Allocation for 2019-20 is close to 5% of total expenditure.

5. There have been successful behavioral changes through initiatives like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaigns and BALDAV (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijaylakshmi).

How is the Budget supporting women empowerment?

1. Significant allocation has been made to schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Mahila Shakti Kendras, National Creche Scheme, etc.

2. It has been proposed to strengthen Self Help Groups (SHG) by allowing

a) every member an overdraft of Rs. 5000 on her Jan Dhan account, and

b) a loan up to 1 lakh for one woman per SHG under the MUDRA scheme.

3. Currently, about 70% of MUDRA beneficiaries are women.

4. The government proposes to expand the Interest Subvention Scheme allowed to women SHGs to avail credit to all districts.

5. Rs. 1315 crore has been allocated for Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women

Where to focus?

1. Women issues need to form a core part of the national policy agenda to transform the gender equation for India.

2. Health, education and empowerment of women need attention as they form almost 50% of India’s population.

3. A multi-directional organized approach to women's development is required.