The Economic Survey for 2019 touched upon a lot of issues which directly or indirectly impact the empowerment of women in India. To understand why it is important, one must know that gender equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals laid by the United Nations. Which is why it seems timely that a section on gender equality and women’s progress reserves a place in the survey carried out by the government. The Economic Survey 2018-19 was prepared by Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian and aims to achieve eight percent growth rate on the back of investments to support export-led growth to achieve the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy in the next five years.

The important women-centric takeaways from the survey are as follows:

  • It is estimated that the demographic advantage available to India is for five decades, which is the highest for any country till now. However, this advantage can only be reaped if education, skilling, and employment opportunities are provided to the youth.
  • India’s MMR during 2014-16 was 130, which is expected to be reduced to 70 per 1,00,000 births by 2030. The survey also reveals a decline in the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by 37 points from 167 per 1,00,000 live births to 130 per 1,00,000 live births between 2011-13 and 2014-16. It also finds that the Infant Mortality Rate stands at 34 per 1,000 live births and the Neonatal Mortality Rate is 24 per 1000 live births.

The Economic Survey 2018-19 was prepared by Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian and aims to achieve eight percent growth rate on the back of investments to support export-led growth to achieve the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy in the next five years.

  • India’s gender parity index (GPI) shows an improvement in girls’ education at all levels of education, except higher education. By 2030, the focus is to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

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  • At all India level, the proportion of women having a bank or savings account that they themselves use have increased from 15.5 percent in 2005-06 to 53 percent in 2015-16.
  • As far as women’s participation in household decision making is concerned, it has also improved significantly. As per NFHS-4, the participation of currently married women in household decision making has increased from 76.5 percent in 2005-06 to 84 percent in 2015-16 at all India level.
  • In the Gender Budget Statement of 2019-20, 30 Ministries/Departments reported having schemes with women’s component, amounting to approximately 5 percent (1,31,699.52 Crore) of the total Union Budget.

At all India level, the proportion of women having a bank or savings account that they themselves use have increased from 15.5 percent in 2005-06 to 53 percent in 2015-16.

  • The Survey suggested a few changes in the Modi government’s flagship Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative. Firstly, it’s title may be changed to BADLAV [Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi] to increase the “contribution of women in the workforce and the economy”. It also stresses on behavioral changes to be brought in attitudes towards women.
  • The Survey proposes to simplify procedures to obtain paperwork, publicize positive norms, publish gender rankings in public domain, reinforce gender norms goals, encourage loss aversion methods, and appropriate gendered wording are some of the outlines.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) as the Nodal agency has adopted the mission strategy of ‘Budgeting for Gender Equity’ to ensure that government budgets are planned according to the differential needs of women and men and accordingly prioritized

Picture Credit: Mukesh Aggarwal/The Tribune

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