In 2005, India established gender-responsive budgeting. Since then, funding allocations to various women-specific and women-related programs have remained stable. These allocations are specified in the Gender Budget Statement of the Union Budget. Because the Union Budget affects individuals throughout the fiscal year, a clear gender perspective is essential.
So, when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivers the Union Budget for 2022-23 on February 1, here are a few topics that women may find interesting:
Higher share in budgetary allocations
In 2005-06, the Gender Budget amounted to 4.8 percent of the overall budget expenditure to address gender disparities in cash distribution for government activities. However, its budget share has remained relatively constant over time, averaging around 5%. In the Union Budget 2021, the gender budget grew by only 6.8%.
As a result of the epidemic, many women have lost their employment, but their long-term social security has also been jeopardized. As a result, the Union Budget for this year is essential for women. They will be on the lookout for any special deals from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. With a woman at the helm of the Finance Ministry, it is believed that the Union Budget would be more sympathetic to their needs, especially during these difficult times.
Bridging the digital divide
The epidemic also highlighted the enormous digital divide in education as schools shifted online. Incorporating programs to enhance digital literacy among women of all ages will be a positive step. Furthermore, the development of skill-building workshops and entrepreneurial training programs under the auspices of the government might aid in increasing women’s labor-force participation.
Policies for women entrepreneurs
Encouragement of women entrepreneurs through policies such as ‘Make in India’ or similar programs will welcome the Union Budget. Special programs and lower taxes for companies targeted at closing the gender gap, improving menstruation health, pregnancy, and postnatal health, and women’s safety might be a step in the right direction.
Reduce GST on preferred investments
Gold is still a popular investment option for women in the country’s tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Additional reductions in GST rates on products of importance to women, such as gold, will provide them greater control and autonomy over their assets.