Economic Survey 2018 was tabled by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today. While talking about the reforms undertaken over the past years, the survey stated that it will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, thereby re-instating India as the world‘s fastest-growing major economy. It also stated that the key focus this year for medium term will be employment, education and agriculture. Chapter 10 of the Economic Survey 2018 talks about Social Infrastructure, Employment and Human Development. It explains Trends in Social Services Expenditure by General Government and also talks about the Gender Parity Index (GPI).
While talking about the Political Empowerment of Women, Economic Survey states the representation of women in Parliament and in decision making roles in public sphere is one of the key indicators of empowerment. While quoting data from the report ‘Women in Politics 2017′, the economic survey stated that Lok Sabha had 64 (11.8 percent of 542 MPs) and Rajya Sabha had 27 (11 per cent of 245 MPs) women MPs. It further states that as on October 2016, out of the total 4118 MLAs across the country, only 9 per cent were women.
While further elaborating on the number of women MLAs, the Economic Survey 2018 interestingly states that among the state assemblies, the highest percentage of women MLAs were from Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan with 14 per cent followed by Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal with 13 per cent and Punjab with 12 per cent (Women and Men in India – 2016, MoSPI). It adds that India with around 49 per cent of women in the population has a low political participation of women.
The survey also states there has been substantial representation of women at the local government level but varies from state to state. It adds that there are 13.72 lakh elected women representatives (EWRs) in PRIs which constitute 44.2 percent of total elected representatives (ERs) as on December, 2017. Women sarpanchs (chairperson) accounted for 43 percent of total gram panchayats (GPs) across the country, exhibiting active leadership of women in local governments.