Several budgeting practices have been adopted in India in the recent past. Techniques like outcome based budgeting, making separate tax foregone statements are some of them. The importance of such marginal but essential practices in central government’s budgeting can be observed if we go through the separate documents attached with the general budget.
One such major invention is the practice of gender budgeting which specifies gender specific elements in the budget. Budget 2016-17 recognizes the importance of gender based budgeting “The rationale of Gender Budgeting arises from the recognition of the fact that the national budget impacts various sections of the society differently.”
What is Gender budgeting?
Gender budgeting (GB) is a practice that accounts budgetary measures to support gender commitments. According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, “It is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that benefits of development reach women as much as men.” It is not just an accounting exercise but an ongoing process of keeping a gender perspective in policy/ programme formulation, its implementation and review. Budget 2016-17 mention that “Gender Budgeting in its simplest connotation is ‘Gender Analysis’ of the budget aimed at examining the budgetary allocation through a gender lens.” The budget accepts that gender budgeting is an evolving area in India. More and more ministries and departments are contributing to the development of the practice in the country.
GB requires Government budgets to establish its gender specific impacts and to ensure that gender commitments are translated into budgetary commitments.
Budgetary resource allocation and the specific expenditure amount for women specific programmes are separately mentioned as part of gender specific budgeting in India.
Introduction of gender budgeting in India
The central government introduced gender budgeting in 2005-06 as a budgetary practice. It has institutionalized Gender Budgeting by introducing a Gender Budget Statement (GBS) since 2005-06. The GBS captures the total quantum of resources earmarked for women in a financial year.
Objectives of Gender Budgeting
Objective of gender budgeting was to ensure that policy commitments and financial outlays are made on a gender perspective. Various initiatives with the objective of influencing and effecting gender oriented budgetary policies, programmes to tackle gender imbalances, promote gender equality and development are identified under gender specific budgeting. Similarly, it also ensures that public resources were made in the budget in gender specific manner.
Components of gender budget
Gender budgeting in India follows the following measures in accounting gender specific programmes.
i. Specifically targeted expenditure to women and girls;
ii. Pro-women allocations, which are the composite expenditure schemes with a significant women’s component; and
iii. Residual public expenditures that have gender–differential impacts.
A separate gender budget statement is also attached as part of the general budget. The budget 2016-17 has a separate gender budget under statement No. 20, mentioned under Expenditure statement.