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?

Gender Responsive Budgeting in India: What Has Gone Wrong?

The manner in which the Indian initiative on gender responsive budgeting has panned out appears to be a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. This article analyses the two prime strategies adopted by the Government of India for institutionalising GRB, namely, the "Gender Budget Statement" and Gender Budgeting Cells to highlight what has gone wrong, and what needs to be fixed. The authors also draw on experiences from other countries, to argue that GRB in India needs a completely different rhythm if it has to translate into better outcomes for the women of our country. With the formulation of the Twelfth Plan under way, the moment is opportune to push for groundbreaking changes in the policy discourse on GRB.

What Does Budget 2010 Imply for the Social Sector?

The Union Budget for 2010-11 does pay some attention to a few important areas in the social sector like women and child development, development of minorities, rural housing and technical education, but the budget's overall allocations and proposals for the critical social services fall far short of expectations and are in keeping with the fiscal conservatism that has gripped the United Progressive Alliance government in its second tenure.

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.

Gender Budgeting Statement

The gender budgeting statement presented in the union budget for 2006-07 covers a significant number of ministries/departments and is hence a welcome step. However, many of the figures given in the statement reflect highly questionable assumptions, which on the one hand are unjustifiable and on the other quite patriarchal.

Unsafe Abortions and Women's Health

Although unsafe and illegal abortions claim many lives and severely damage women's health, international conventions on providing safe facilities for women have not had much success. A rights-based perspective on the issue.
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