Time to raise women’s share in economy: Economic Survey
The Economic Survey 2018-19 has proposed a change in the Narendra Modi government’s flagship “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme, aimed at improving gender ratio. The campaign may be renamed as BADLAV [Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi] to increase the “contribution of women in the workforce and the economy”.
In addition, the Survey highlights several positive changes in the social and health sectors such as an increase in the participation of women in the banking system, the declining maternal mortality ratio (MMR), among others.
The Beti Bachao scheme, a social campaign aimed at improving child sex ratio, was launched my Prime Minister Modi in 2015. The Economic Survey says that the states with poor sex ratios needed a “pivot in their social norms”, and so, the government is taking this forward though BADLAV to increase the “contribution of women in the workforce and the economy”.
Under this campaign, the thrust will be on pushing for behavioural changes in attitudes towards women. Simplifying procedures to obtain paperwork, publicising positive norms, publishing gender rankings in public domain, reinforcing gender norms goals, encouraging loss aversion methods, and appropriate gendered wording are some of the outlines of the scheme.
The Survey also says that the proportion of women having a bank or savings account that they themselves use have increased from 15.5% in 2005-06 to 53% in 2015-16. Under the health component, the Survey says, between 2011-13 and 2014-16, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 37 points — from 167 per 100,000 live births to 130 per 1,00,000 live births. Infant mortality rate stands at 34 per 1,000 live births and neonatal mortality rate is 24 per 1000 live births.
Highlighting these achievements, WCD minister Smriti Irani said in a series of tweets, that there were 1.8 crore antenatal check-ups; more than 7.189 crore LPG [cooking gas] connections released under the Ujjwala scheme; 3.39 crore children were immunised; and operational holdings cultivated by women has increased from 11.7% in 2005-06 to 13.9 % in 2015-16.
In the survey, the government admitted that the high drop-out rates for boys at the secondary school level and a shortage of teachers were key challenges in the education sector. As of March 31, 2016, there were 9.08 lakh vacancies of teachers at elementary level in government schools, and the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) at national level for primary schools is 23, 17 for upper primary, 27 for secondary and 37 for senior secondary schools.
“Although, enrolment of girls is higher than that of boys in government schools, the gender gap in enrolment in private schools has consistently increased across age groups,” the Survey stated.
While India has reiterated its commitment to realising the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, public sector spending on the social sector has not increased. To realise the SDGs, a collection of 17 global goals and 169 targets, government think tank NITI Aayog has developed the SDG India Index for all states.