Union Budget 2019: Focus on empowering women with a safe, secure and equitable environment in society has gained policy momentum in the last 5 years. This has led to the formulation of schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana to name a few. While the safety for women has been a key focus area, the utilization of the flagship Nirbhaya Fund till end of 2018 calendar year has been only 22 since its rollout in 2015.
There is significant gap between men and women in literacy, labour force participation and employment rate. India continues to be a laggard when it comes to reducing the gender inequality. Comparison with other countries indicate that we are behind other neighboring countries like China and Sri Lanka.
India also falls in the last group (Group -5) of countries under the Gender Development Index, thus indicating a need for increased focus on education, skilling, employment generation and safety of women.
Some recent initiatives like Nari a portal to make women aware about government scheme, SHe-boxto report complaints of sexual harassment and e-Samvad for civil society convergence, are commendable and would help in further reducing the gender inequality and help around 50% female population to contribute positively to the prosperity and growth of the nation.
By Ashok Varma, Leader Social Sector – PwC