India's Economic Recovery After COVID-19 Should Focus On Needs Of Girls: Report

Till December 2020, about 47 per cent women suffered a permanent job loss while only seven per cent men faced the same.

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The pandemic which hit India in 2019 made a serious impact on the livelihoods of its people and impacted the country's economy. In order to recover, the country must put the needs of women and girls on forefront, a report by The Quantum Hub (TQH) and the Initiative for What Works To Advance Women and Girls in the Economy at LEAD suggests.

The report puts focus on the pre-existing data and analyses the opportunities that can be drawn up for women of India in order to grow as an economy. During the COVID-19, the inequalities faced by women only exacerbated which caused serious loss to their livelihood, income insecurity, rise in domestic violence and the emotional burden of caring their family members.

Focus On Women In India's Post-COVID Economy Recovery:

As per the report, many women were forced to quit their jobs as the need of them to be the domestic caregiver increased. Till December 2020, about 47 per cent women suffered a permanent job loss while only seven per cent men faced the same. In the enterprises sector, about 73 per cent loss was seen by the ones run or led by women in the early months of the first lockdown and by May 2020, 10 per cent of such enterprises were permanently shut down.

In the Union Budget of 2021-22, according to the said report, the government only allocated a small fraction to the budget targeting women who are nearly half India's population. Since 2005 when India adopted the practice of gender budgeting, the government has only made allocations below six per cent of the total expenditure.

The report made suggestions for a gender-responsive economic recovery plan. As per that, the State should give incentives to commercial banks so that they cater to the growing demand for credit by women borrowers. Since economic assets are not generally in women's name, the banks can revise models assessing their creditworthiness. The government can also help women Self Help Groups in repayment of the outstanding loans or can launch a scheme to tackle the interest of such loans. The network of third party workers hired by the banks for the services can be scaled up so that rural areas get access to the banking services.

The State can also create about three million jobs just by filling up the vacant positions of Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and others. The National Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPS ) can be be given allocations such as increased stipend for employers who take women apprentices. Skill centres specific to women can be set up with proper funding where women get to learn skills that are relevant to the market including sectors such as green energy and agriculture that keeps evolving.


As the enterprises in India are mostly owned by men, the government can provide a push for women entrepreneurs. The Ministry of MSME's Public Procurement Policy (2018) mandates that every Central Ministry, departments, PSUs should target 25 per cent of their procurement from the Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) sector, of which 3 percent must be from the women-owned MSEs. This can be increased. The private sector can be incentivised for procuring from women-owned businesses with tax breaks and subsidies. PM-KISAN scheme can be expended which make monetary transfers to farmers who own lands to increase coverage among sharecroppers as well, with a focus on women who do not necessarily own landholdings. Emergency Cash Transfers can also be expended so that it can reach women who were forced to quit their jobs. Women who run home-based businesses should be allotted more than one cylinder, the issues of refilling can be addressed under the PM Ujjwala Scheme.

Since women are held responsible for the care of their family members, the government should launch awareness and advocacy campaigns to address the stereotypes. Corporations can be offered tax holidays or other incentives if they have undertaken measures to ensure gender-equitable workplace policies such as the provision of onsite childcare and flexible work schedules.

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