Gender Responsive Budgeting in India

Gender Responsive Budgeting in India

Vibhuti Patel (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2819-8.ch003
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The budget represents the financial plan and hence is the most significant policy instrument of the government for establishing macro-economic stability, fiscal efficiency, strategic priority, and more importantly, for ensuring the equitable distribution of national resources. Gender responsive participatory budgeting (GRPB) is a means of integrating a gender dimension into all steps of the budget process that includes participatory decision making and transparency in raising financial resources and their expenditure. It is about considering the different needs and priorities of both women, men, and sexual minorities without gender exclusivity. Gender responsive budgeting (GRB) ensures that budgets are gender-sensitive and not gender neutral, which means that they are geared towards establishing gender equality and are sensitive to intersectionality of gender with class, caste, race, religion, ethnicity, and geographical location. GRB consists of the use of tools to analyze the gender dimensions of budgets; adoption of procedures to ensure that the budget supports the achievement of gender equality; and implementation mechanisms for effective and efficient utilisation of allocated funds, functions, and functionaries.
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Women, girls, and transgender persons face various forms of exclusion, vulnerability and marginalization throughout the life cycle. They may face discrimination before or after birth; violence, harassment, or abuse; neglect due to dependence and lack of access to resources; social prejudice; and exploitation – whether economic, educational, political, social, or religious. Their survival struggles are mired by economic exploitation, social injustice, political discrimination regardless of where they are positioned on the socioeconomic and cultural spectrum. Additionally, their vulnerability increases significantly if they are poor, socially disadvantaged or live in a backward or remote area (Patel 2020). GRB is a widely accepted strategy that has been employed across more than 100 countries to address these vulnerabilities. GRB is a tool for gender mainstreaming. It uses the budget as an entry point to apply a gender lens to the entire policy process. It is concerned with gender sensitive formulation of legislation, policies, plans, programmes and schemes; allocation and collection of resources; implementation and execution; monitoring, review, audit and impact assessment of programmes and schemes; and follow-up corrective action to address gender disparities (Mehta, 2020).

Gender Responsive Budget (GRB) demands vision for gender justice, gender equity and translations of gender commitment into financial commitments. It is a continuous process that demands clear understanding of micro, meso and macroeconomic scenario. The gender economists, elected representatives, administration and community must take part in arriving at consensus about practical gender needs that reduced day to day drudgery of women and girls, at the same time whole community benefits. For example, if gender budget is used for regular public transport in the community so that girls can attend school, also benefits everyone, young and old, boys and girls to benefit from transport services. If gender budget is provided for electrification of area so that life becomes safe for women and girls at night, benefits everyone, students can study at night, community can watch television. Similarly, women’s demand for tapped water, fuel for cooking, toilets, fodder for domestic animals ensures welfare of whole family. Generally, community supports these practical gender needs. While strategic gender needs that make massive change in the gendered power relations are opposed tooth and nail. For example, reservation of 1/3 seats in legislature and parliament that will greatly change the national political ecosystem has been severely opposed by all men politicians of most of the political parties in India.

Key Terms in this Chapter

PCPNDT Act: It is the acronym for the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques ((Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act. The PNDT Act was passed in 1994 and amended in 2003. It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. The act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.

DV Act: Acronym for the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 which was passed by an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence. It was brought into force by the Indian government from 26 October 2006.

Strategic Gender Needs: Strategic gender needs are different in different economic contexts and are determined by statutory provisions, affirmative action by the state, pro-active role of the employers to enhance women’s position in the economy and social movements.

Practical Gender Needs: Practical Gender Needs are identified keeping into consideration, gender-based division of labour or women’s subordinate position in the economy. They are a response to immediate perceived necessity, identified within a specific context. They are practical in nature and often are concerned with inadequacies in living conditions such as provision of fuel, water, healthcare, and employment. For details see, Moser, 1993.

PRI: Acronym of Panchayati Raj Institutions (Urban and Rural Local Self-government Bodies) which are part of the decentralised planning and administration in India, comprising the three-tiered system of local administration at village, block, and district panchayats.

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