Woman power rises in budget talks this year

  • Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 16, 2016 15:38 IST

Seventeen women officials held discussions with finance secretary RP Watal along with other senior members in his team. (File Photo)

Out of 34 financial advisers representing different ministries and departments who held budget discussions, 50% were women, sources said.

Seventeen women officials held discussions with finance secretary RP Watal along with other senior members in his team, according to sources.

In 2012-13, there were just eight women financial advisers, and in 2014-15 there were 11.

Financial advisers, who typically operate as chief finance officers of their ministries, are responsible for overseeing the budget and expenditure issues, and the financial well being of some of the crucial ministries depends on them. The finance secretary holds meetings with these advisers to understand their demands.

“In the ordinary household financial phraseology, all efficient expenditure management needs to be prudent and thrifty... And who is more adept at prudence and thrift than the lady of the house,” a senior official noted, adding that even Watal in one of his meetings took note of this fact.

Some of the crucial ministries such as human resources development, home affairs, health and family welfare, urban development, rural development and panchayati raj, telecom, civil aviation and steel among others were represented by women financial advisers.

“This is part of the strategy of the current Narendra Modi government and the focus is on pushing more women into well-developed responsible roles, the way it should happen in any matured economy,” the official said.

The government is also trying to boost entrepreneurship among women, and as part of the Stand Up India programme, banks have been advised to ensure that each of their branch are able to offer at least one loan to a woman entrepreneur and one to a Dalit or someone who comes under the scheduled caste or tribe. (SC/ST)

If each bank branch provides loans to Dalits, women, and tribals, then in no time, we will have at least 1, 25,000 start ups by women and Dalits,” Modi had said.

Meanwhile, the government this year is expected to increase its focus on the social sectors and spruce up its spending for the rural population, especially in the context of two consecutive droughts.

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