Kerala’s Gender Budget must include performance reports for transparency of women-specific schemes: CAG

Unless provisions and allocations for gender budgeting are translated into effective implementation of schemes followed by robust monitoring mechanism, entire objective of gender budgeting will remain defeated, says CAG’s audit report

February 15, 2024 04:22 pm | Updated 04:22 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

(image for representational purposes)

(image for representational purposes) | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India wants performance reports to accompany proposals for the Gender Budget to ensure transparency in public spending on women empowerment in Kerala.

“Unless the provisions and allocations for gender budgeting are translated into effective implementation of the schemes followed by robust monitoring mechanism, the entire objective of gender budgeting would remain defeated,” the CAG’s audit report on State finances for the year ended March 31, 2022, tabled in the Kerala Assembly on February 15 (Thursday), noted.

The Kerala government should insist government departments to submit performance reports along with the proposals for the Gender Budget of the current year “to bring about transparency in public spending for the socio-economic empowerment of women in the State through various schemes,” the report said.

Since 2017-18, the Kerala government has been placing the Gender Budget along with the State Budget documents in the Assembly as a separate statement. It has two parts – Part A which covers 90%-100% women-specific schemes and Part B which covers schemes that are 30% to 90% women-specific.

Examining State Plan outlays from 2017-18 to 2021-22, the CAG noted that the growth in allocation for Part A schemes has been slower compared to Part B schemes. The percentage of outlay for Part A schemes rose from 4.52% in 2017-18 to 7.29% in 2020-21 and dipped to 6.54% in 2021-22. Part B outlay rose from 6.90% to 13% in 2021-22. Although the 2019-2020 Gender Budget had envisaged a statement on the financial performance of schemes, it was not done.

Monitoring and control mechanism

On the State Budget in general, the CAG has urged the government to institute an “appropriate Budget monitoring and control mechanism.”

The government should also ensure that government departments are submitting Budget proposals that reflect their financial requirements “to the closest possible.” A thorough scrutiny by the Finance department is essential to avoid unrealistic estimates from getting passed in the Budget, the CAG said.

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