Staff Reporter

“Should stress on allocation for education of the girl child”

Urge for fair distribution of resources through gender budgeting

Demand separate listing of women specific items, transparency in utilisation of the funds

NEW DELHI: Outlining the major concerns of women’s organisations with regard to the upcoming Union Budget 2008-09, civil society organisation Women Power Connect has emphasised that the budget should stress on specific allocation for education of the girl child, implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act as these they remain grave concerns for women’s groups.

A coalition of more than 600 women’s groups and individuals, WPC has also outlined a list of priority issues to be addressed in the Union Budget 2008-09.

“Unless specific allocation is provided for awareness creation and sensitisation of relevant stake holders and setting up mechanisms such as appointing protection officers and building shelter homes as required under the Act, it is not possible to improve the implementation of these Acts,” said WPC president Ranjana Kumari.

“Among the other priority areas, girl child education needs special allocation and there is a need to launch Kanya Vishesh Shiksha Abhiyaan in some districts,” she added.

According to WPC, women’s groups were happy with the increase in budgetary allocations for women and children in the year 2007-08. However, this year they are expecting a little more from the Finance Minister and are urging for fair and efficient distribution of public resources through gender budgeting.

Although gender cells were set up in almost all the departments and Ministries of the Union Government last year, absence of sex-disaggregated data makes it difficult for these cells to do any effective analysis of the impact of programmes and schemes targeted at women, according to WPC.

In order to strengthen the cells, separate funds have to be provided for training and capacity building of officers involved in budgeting in these Ministries.

Giving suggestions for effective implementation of gender budgeting in India, WPC has recommended undertaking of sectoral analysis of budgetary allocations and their impact on women in addition to ensuring setting up of in-built mechanism to analyse the budgetary policies through gender lens in terms of budget estimates, revised estimates and actual outlays when audited figures become available.

The civil society organisation has emphasised monitoring the implementation of schemes targeted for women in order to control significant deviation between budget estimates and revised estimates and strengthening of women component plan in all the Ministries as recommended in mid-term appraisal of the 10th Plan.

The organisation also demanded separate listing of women specific items, transparency in utilisation of the allocated amount for women’s programmes along with strengthening of the gender-disaggregated database within relevant departments and Ministries to enable effective monitoring of targets and achievements across gender.

Other demands of the organisation included consolidation of schemes with provision of Rs.10 lakh or less to avoid proliferation of programmes with little money and little scope of making any impact on women and expanding scope of activities of national and State Women’s Commissions and funds for District Commissions.