Sunday, March 08, 2015

Gender budgeting? Central allocation for 2015-16 lowest in five years

By Our Representative
A fresh analysis of the Gender Budget Statement (GBS) for 2015-16 has revealed that the total allocation under it as proportion of the Union budget has been progressively going down, with 2015-16 being the lowest of the last five years.
In 2015-16, the analysis, carried out by a reputed non-profit organization, says that allocation under gender budgeting is 0.94 per cent of the Union budget, as against 1.04 per cent in 2014-15, 1.53 per cent in 2013-14, 1.32 per cent in 2012-13 and 1.55 per cent in 2011-12.
Especially referring to specific schemes, under which gender budgeting takes effect, the analysis has found that, in absolute numbers, the allocation for midday meal is down from Rs 3,965 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2,771 crore in 2015-16; for the Scheme for the Protection and Development of Women from Rs 315 crore to Rs 78 crore; for Rashtriya Uccha Shiksha Abhiyan from Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 1,010 crore; and for the Integrated Child Development Scheme from Rs 10,735 crore to Rs 7,502 crore.
Carried out by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi, the analysis says the Government of India believes the lower allocation would compensated with “enhanced devolution of Union Taxes to states as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission”, with states asked to "contribute from their enhanced resources”
"However", comments the analysis, "It is important to note that the allocation of resources to these schemes by states would depend on the prioritisation for these by the states." The fact is, "the magnitude of funds meant exclusively for women have declined as a proportion of the Union Budget and GDP in 2015-16. This decline is indicative of the reduced priority for women in the Union Budget."
The analysis further states, "Only three schemes, i.e., Infrastructure Maintenance (Department of Health and Family Welfare), Nirbhaya Fund for Safety of Women (Department of Economic Affairs) and Indira Awas Yojana have allocations exceeding Rs. 1,000 crore. Likewise, only two schemes, Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (Ministry of Women and Child Development) and Scheme on Women Safety on Public Road Transport from Nirbhaya Fund (Ministry of Road Transport& Highways) have allocations of more than Rs. 100 crore."
According to the analysis, "Most schemes, meant only for women have allocations of less than Rs 100 crore. The need to strengthen budgetary outlays, especially for interventions to address violence against women, has been ignored in Union Budget 2015-16. The Government earlier last year announced the setting up of a One Stop Crisis Centre in each district of the country", which "cannot be met from the allocations in this Budget. The allocations for this scheme stand at Rs 2 core in 2015-16 (BE)."
Further, says the analysis, "Important schemes like Women’s Helpline and Scheme for Assistance to States for Implementation of Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 have not been allocated the necessary outlays, even as there are unutilized funds under the Nirbhaya Fund."
It adds, "Among the schemes by Ministry of Women and Child Development that will have a changed sharing pattern is the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS). The scheme is being transferred to states, whereby the Union Government will provide capital expenditure (such as expenditure on construction of Anganwadi Centres etc.). The states would be expected to bear the revenue expenditure), which is going to be the large part of expenditure under the scheme."

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