“Budget reform bears the imprint of the age in which it originated”- Charles Beard
A budget which is analyzed and constructed from a gender perspective is called a Gender budget. It has a differential impact which explains gender commitments to budgetary commitment. It analyses the actual expenditure on women and girls by the Government. The Gender Budget Initiative is a policy framework to strengthen the Govt. policies at the grass root level. This tool is now gaining a much more importance to develop the macro level expenditures of the public policies. We may say that it strengthens the good governance a lot. It is not only a developmental plan but also it identifies the gaps between resource allocation and policy framework. It reflects the gender equity of a nation.
Need of Gender Budgeting
- Gender Budget is helping the improvement of economic equality of women and also makes women financially strong.
- Gender Budget helps in the transparency and accountability of the entire budget.
- Gender Budget shows the actual implementation of Govt. schemes.
What is Gender Budget?
- It is not a separate or specific budget. It is just to observe how a budget addresses the needs of women in all sectors.
- It is only to provide positive action to address the specific needs of women.
- It is a way to access the impact of Govt. schemes and expenditure on women.
Gender budget around the world
- Australia was the first country who implemented Gender budget in the year 1982.
- South Africa implemented in 1995 and involves all NGOs, Parliamentarian, researchers, and advisors.
- In the year 1997 and 1999, Tanzania and Uganda took the initiative and they gave emphasized on health and education.
After that 80 countries all over the world around the world followed Gender Budget.
Gender Budget in India
In India, gender budget started through various processes.
- “Towards Equality Report-1974,” says about the status of women in India.
- The sixth five-year plan for women development- this was remarkable. The approach of the Govt. was changed from welfare oriented to empower orientated. Women secured a special position and space in the national plan during the sixth five-year plan with special focus on health, education, and employment of women.
- Shram Shakti Report 1988, the report of the National Commission on self-employed women and women in the informal sector. The report says that about 85% of working women who are working in the informal sector which is unorganized and where no laws are applicable, they are underprivileged and exploited.
- National Perspective Plan for Women, 1988, says 355 far reaching recommendations for women. It includes uniform civil code, property rights to women, reservation sheets for women in elected bodies, banning of sex determination tests and making harassment of wives for dowry as a ground for seeking a divorce. The National Perspective Plan for women (NPP) also encourages industrialization for rural women to get employment opportunity.
- The eighth five-year plan (1992–97) says about the three-fold benefits of a woman. They are Education, Health, and Employment which were monitored vigilantly. Women equally participated in the developmental process as equal partner s and participants.
- The ninth five-year plan (1997–2002) says about empowerment of women and socially disadvantaged groups like scheduled tribe, scheduled caste, and minorities, developing and promoting local participatory bodies like Panchayati Raj institutions, self help groups, and cooperatives, the convergence of different schemes and women components plans at the central level and state level.
- The tenth five-year plan (2002–2007) says about empowering women through translating the recently adopted National Policy for Empowerment of Women (2001) into action and ensuring Survival, Protection and Development of women and children through a rights-based approach.
Policies committed for women
Our constitution provides some provisions for women for the commitment of gender equity.
- Article 14- Equal Rights and Opportunities in Political, Economic and Social Spheres.
- Article 15 — Prohibits discrimination on the ground of sex.
- Article 15(3) — Enables affirmative discrimination in favour of women.
- Article 39 — Equal means of livelihood and pay for equal work.
- Article 42 — Just and Humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
- Article 51(A)(e) — Fundamental Duty to renounce practices, derogatory to the dignity of women.
Besides these constitutional provisions, National Policy for Empowerment of Women-2001 envisages introduction of a gender perspective in the budget process as an operational strategy and these provisions are affected and supplemented by the legal framework. They are as follows;
Women-specific Legislations :
Ø Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
Ø The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
Ø The Dowry Prohibition Act, 9961
Ø Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987.
Ø The Commission of Sati(Prevention) Act, 1987
Ø Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
For Women’s Economic Rights :
Ø Factories Act, 1948
Ø Minimum Wages Act, 1948
Ø Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
Ø The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
Ø The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
Ø The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976
Ø Relevant provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Ø Special provision under IPC
Ø The Legal Practitioners (Women) Act, 1923 l
Ø The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994.
For Women’s Social Rights :
Ø Family Courts Act, 1984
Ø The Indian Succession Act, 1925
Ø The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
Ø Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Ø The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
Ø The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (& amended in 2005)
Ø The Indian Divorce Act, 1969
According to John Holmes “when we look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they are not just gender- related. Gender inequality is often the root cause of all problems. The 11th schedule of the 73rd amendment specifies 29 areas of responsibilities that state devolves to the Panchayat and in some area women have the primary responsibilities. To achieve the MDGs, we have to understand how to address the inequality which arises from differences between men and women, unequal power distribution etc. Women should be empowered more to handle their local issues in a campaign mood, they should understand the budget and the budgetary provision for them in the different schemes like IAY, IRDP, ICDS etc. They must know the Panchayat revenue generation, allocation of funds, tax, rent, sale and Panchayat property also. They should train to handle the financial maintenance of Panchayat and participate in the budget making process of their Panchayats, record maintenance etc.