March 13, 2012

What Women want from Union Budget 2012?

The budget is the annual announcement of the government’s monetary strategy changes. It announces the tax changes proposed for the following tax year and also how the government plans to spend the returns.

Union Budget sets goals and targets for the next one year, the Economic Survey focuses on the growth achieved the previous year and the factors that contributed to it.

Every individual want something beneficial from the Union budget. People expect the simplest from the government, to provide security from undesirable rise of food prices, secure environment, to see to it that children below poverty level get basic food and education after all they are as much Indians as you and me.

In India, women constitute almost 50 per cent of the population and as equal citizens; women have a right to stake a claim to their entitlements under all categories of public spending and not just token women’s programs. They expect many benefits from union budget 2012. The expectations of women from Union budget are:

• There should be a restriction on interest rates which women need to pay and women should also get concessional interest rates.

• The escalation rise in the prices of vital commodities and increase have had a particularly adverse impact on women, and on families from the more disadvantaged and marginalized strata of society. Therefore in this budget, there is a need to give a special thrust to bringing down the prices and also focus on specific welfare schemes for women, especially those from the marginalized sections.

• In all metropolises -class I, II, III, IV and V cities- safe public transport in terms of buses and trains must be provided to working women. For women vendors and traders, luggage compartments in the trains and buses should be provided.

• Primary health centers, drinking water, electricity, girl's hostels in tribal areas and dalit habitations must be adequately budgeted.

• In any budget, women give the highest priority to nutritious food for the family. The objective is good health. Purchasing power is needed to buy food. Purchasing power depends primarily on availability of work or employment opportunities for the able bodied and remuneration or wage or salary for work.

• A social security should be provided to women. Concerted efforts need to be made to attract and keep hold of girl children in school.

• There must be a toll free help line available for women for crisis management such as fire, disaster, riots, feuds, domestic violence etc.

Though for many years, Women were always neglected from their rights. Because even the most poverty sensitive of policies and legislations such as the Right to Work, are mostly gender blind or gender undemocratic.

Until now, the gender budgeting efforts have primarily concentrated on expenditures in women related sectors and several aspects like taxation, trade, capital flows, etc. have remained out of its purview.

As the country is rocked with multi-crore scams and rising prices of food, this Union budget thus is looked upon with great expectation and is a critical point to make things better for the ruling government.

There has been much speculation about the Union Budget 2012. Every single person was waiting with bated breath with the expectation that the Finance Minister will give them something which they can cheer about.

The Budget was delayed because of Assembly polls in five states — Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Punjab.

The Budget session of Parliament began on March 12 and the General Budget will be presented in Lok Sabha on March 16.

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