(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Economic Survey [MARCH-2018]

(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Economic Survey


Economic Survey

of India has revealed presence of 21 million "unwanted" girls in India, because couples have ”son preference” and would continue having children until they had a boy. Also there are 63 million women ”missing” from India’s population because of sex selective abortion. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) programme was introduced in October, 2014 to solve the problem of adverse Child Sex Ratio (CSR). For this programme, the allocation in 2018-19 budget has been increased to Rs 280 crores against revised estimates of Rs 186 crores. The aim is to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls. It is a powerful and effective movement which can check the issue of female foeticide and infanticide. An improved budget shows government’s commitment to empower girl child. The Government has also set a target of providing 2 crores toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2018-19 which would directly impact the safety of women and girls. increase in the number of separate toilets for boys and girls in school would also reduce the number of girls dropping out of schools. The Pradhan Mantri Saubhagya Yojana would provide free electricity to 4 crore household, which will have direct impact on the living conditions of women and children. Further, Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women would get R51366 crores whereas the revised estimate in 2017-18 was R5988 crores. The allocation for Women Helpline has been increased to Rs 28.8 crore as against Rs 10 crore in the revised estimate of 2017-18. The above mentioned schemes and measures with better budget allocation, are expected to benefit women in the country.

In India, almost 66 percent of women fall un er the “unpaid work” category. ln the proposed budget, there should have been enhanced provision for providing skill training to women so that more opportunities get created for women in non-manual jobs. This would have helped women attaining better employability. Further Women employees’ contribution in provident fund has been reduced to 8 per cent for the first three years of their employment against the existing rate of 12 per cent or 10 per cent. This EPF contribution should have been optional for women as some women would like to save more. Further, tax on sanitary napkins should have been reduced to make it within easy reach to women from lower economic strata. Also social security scheme "MGNREGA”, which was primarily for women, did not get any significant increase. lt has been allocated Rs 55,000 crore, which is exactly the amount which we Spent on the demand driven scheme in 2017-18.

In the light of prevailing gender inequality and unemployment, this budget as a whole appears promising for Indian women. The need of women from all sections of society, i.e., rural, single, widow, urban, poor or salaried, has found a place in the proposed budget. The need of the hour is to utilize the budget in an optimum way. Proper monitoring and implementation of programmes and policies would ensure to fulfill the socio economic needs of women and would improve their education, safety, security, health, job opportunities and all other aspects related to women. This budget is a testimony of government’s commitment towards women empowerment and improving their quality of life.

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Courtesy: Kurukshetra