Indrani Dutta

‘But a great deal remains to be done for women’

Increase in remuneration for anganwadi workers “inadequate”

Tax cuts to benefit a small section of urban middle-class women

KOLKATA: P. Chidambaram’s budget is packaged well but the increase in allocations to women-related schemes has been meagre, according to CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.

She told The Hindu that the small increase in women-related schemes as a percentage of public expenditure was “hardly fair.”

More to be done

The government had made some efforts on gender budgeting, but a great deal remained to be done on this front, she said.

Noting that women comprised half of the population, the Finance Minister said that Rs.11,460 crore had been provided to thirty-three demands for grants on gender budgeting.

Regarding the increase in remuneration for anganwadi workers, she said the increase was inadequate and some pension scheme should have been announced for them.

She also felt that too little had been allocated for the 35-crore-strong unorganised workforce, a substantial portion of which consisted of women.

Concessions for women

Ms. Karat was happy with the income tax concessions for women although she felt that only a small section, mostly urban middle-class women, would benefit. The masses had been left in the lurch.

The CPI (M) leader was particularly upset about the lack of fund allocation for solar light to tribal folks.

“This is most unfortunate. We talk of energy security and clean energy with even the Prime Minister expressing his commitment but the budget failed to translate it into action.”

Ms. Karat had initiated a project to light up tribal homes with solar lanterns in West Bengal. The project was progressing very well and the Left parties in their budget wish-list had suggested a scheme to light up Adivasi homes through supply of subsidised solar lanterns.

More In: Today's Paper