ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gender Responsive Budgeting in India

Gender responsive budgeting in India has been in practice for 10 years. An assessment reveals a mixed picture. There are number of positive developments, such as changes in select planning and budgeting processes and creation of gender budget cells. However, restricted reach of GRB and stagnant or even declining allocations for the gender agenda are stumbling blocks. Identifying critical issues that are limiting the potential of the strategy, the paper suggests key steps that the government needs to take to address them.

The Paradox of Gender Responsive Budgeting

The web version of this article corrects a few errors that appeared in the print edition. Despite the steps towards gender responsive budgeting, the budgetary allocations for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment show a decline. Not only has the magnitude of the gender budget as a proportion of the total expenditure of the Union Budget decreased, but the projected gross budgetary support for the “women and child development” sector for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period also shows a decline from the Eleventh Five-Year Plan if the allocations for Integrated Child Development Services are not factored in. Will this affect the government’s ambitious gender agenda?

The Missing Link in the Domestic Violence Act

Five years after the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 came into force there is no sign of any budgetary provision by the central government to help the states implement it. A number of crucial components that have been laid down in the Act remain neglected due to paucity of funds. What are the budgetary practices adopted by the states to implement the legislation? Based on the data collected from all the states (except J&K) under the Right to Information, this article suggests a few mechanisms to address the resource gaps.

An Assessment of UPA-I through a Gender Budgeting Lens

This article evaluates the United Progressive Alliance government's budgets over the past five years through the lens of gender - both from reviewing the gender budgeting statements in union budgets since 2005-06 and assessing the allocations to major programmes and schemes across various sectors that affect women. First, although the gender budgeting statements still suffer from flaws in methodology, it is clear that women are accorded low priority in government spending on development. Second, the creation of an independent Ministry of Women and Child Development has not resulted in any significant change in priorities for women. Third, a whopping 42% decline in allocations for schemes meant for women's welfare under the MWCD in the union budget 2009-10 puts a big question mark on how serious the UPA is in its stated commitment to women's empowerment.

What Does Budget 2007-08 Offer Women?

A closer look at the gender budgeting statement in the Union Budget 2007-08 reveals that programmes and allocations remain plagued by "mistakes", with several schemes wrongly prioritised as being exclusively for women. The fact that women have begun to figure in the annual financial exercise of the government is a laudable step, but there remains a need to prioritise women in all development schemes of the government.
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