WCD allocation up by 17%, but share of gender spend in total expenditure goes down
A 17% increase in sectoral allocation to the Union women and child development ministry has been offset by a 0.2 percentage point decrease in the share of the Gender Budget Statement in the total budget expenditure.Updated: Jul 06, 2019, 17:54 IST
Quoting Swami Vivekananda to stress on the importance of an increased participation of women, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget speech said, “It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.”
Sitharaman, the second woman ever to present the Union Budget, announced a committee with government and private stakeholders to evaluate and suggest changes in the gender analysis of the budget. In her speech, she mentioned women over 19 times, and called for a greater need for women-led initiatives and movements.
She also announced that one woman in every self-help group will be eligible for a loan of Rs 1 lakh and said that the women SHG interest subvention programme will now be extended to all districts. Additionally, she announced an overdraft of Rs 5,000 to every woman who has a Jan Dhan account.
A 17% increase in sectoral allocation to the Union women and child development ministry has been offset by a 0.2 percentage point decrease in the share of the Gender Budget Statement in the total budget expenditure. The allocation for WCD ministry has been hiked from Rs 24,309 crores in the revised estimates for 2018-19 to Rs 29,164.89 crore this fiscal.
As per Gender Budget statement, while the total allocation went up from Rs 1,25,531.6 crore to Rs 1,36,934.10 crore, its share in the total expenditure fell from 5.3% in 2018-19 to 5.1% in 2019-20.
The lion’s share of the WCD ministry’s allocation went to the Anganwadi Services under the umbrella scheme of Integrated Child Protection Services, which encompasses the health as well as human resources development ministries. The scheme saw a 9.8% increase in allocation from Rs 17,890.19 crore in the 2018-19 revised estimates to Rs 19,834.37 crore in 2019-20. Allocation for the National Nutrition Mission went up from Rs 2,944.87 crore in the revised estimates of 2018-19 to Rs 3,399.99 crore in 2019-20.
Maternity benefit scheme Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana saw a two-fold jump in allocation from Rs 1,200 crore in the revised estimates of 2018-19 to Rs 2500 crore in allocation for 2019-20. Allocations for the child protection services scheme, the Working Women’s Hostel scheme were also hiked.
However, the allocation for One Stop Crisis Centre fell from Rs 302.80 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 274 crore. Allocation for the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao remains unchanged at Rs 280 crore.
Professor Aasha Kapur Mehta, former professor at Indian Institute of Public Administration, who is part of the Feminist Policy Collective, said the bulk of MWCD’s budget (80%) goes to provision of Anganwadi services.
“This caters primarily to children below the age of six and also to pregnant and lactating mothers. Allocations that will directly benefit the rest of India’s women, such as through providing services that would support working women or women suffering from domestic or other forms of distress, need to be increased substantially” said Kapur-Mehta.
Enakshi Ganguly of the HAQ Centre for Child Rights said while children made up for 37% of the country’s population, they were not even mentioned once in the finance minister’s speech.
“The share for children in this budget remains 3.2%, lesser than the recommendations of the National Plan of Action for Children 2016,” she said.
She added that the 107% hike in the allocation for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and the fact that 98% of the budget allocated in 2017-18 was spent in the same year are welcome.