Gender Budgeting is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that benefits of development reach women as much as men. It is a tool for gender empowerment. (Gender empowerment includes opening up access to decision-making processes that make women to perceive themselves as able and entitled to occupy decision-making space).
Gender Budgeting was introduced by the government in 2005-06 in order to ensure that policy commitments are backed by financial outlays and that the gender perspective is incorporated in all stages of a policy or a programme.
The purpose of GB is to ensure the translation of Government’s policy commitments on gender equity into budgetary allocations.
The Gender Budgetary allocations of the Union Government are reflected in two parts. The first part- Part A includes Schemes with 100% allocation for women while Part B of the Statement includes Schemes/Programmes with 30% to 99% allocation for women.
A gender-sensitive budget aims at examining budgetary resource allocations through a gender lens. It is not a separate budget for women; rather it is a dissection of the government budget to establish its gender-specific impact and to translate gender commitments into budgetary commitments. It also examines the gendered incidence of budgetary policies for effective targeting of public spending, and offsetting any undesirable gender-specific consequences of previous budgetary measures.
There are a range of different actors who can be involved in Gender Budgeting. They have different roles and carryout different activities. Some of them are:
• Ministry of Finance (both at the Centre &State)
• Ministry of Women & Child Development/Social Welfare Department
• Comptroller and Auditor General of India /Local Audit Departments
• Sectoral ministries like Health, Education, Labour, Agriculture, Power, Roadways, Urban Development, etc.
• Researchers, Economists and Statisticians
• Civil Society Organizations and Budget Groups
• Parliamentarians, Budget Committees of both Houses, and other representatives of the people at district and sub-district levels.
• Development Partners/Donors etc.
But many misleading and patriarchal assumptions limit the scope of Gender Budgeting. Sectors such as Water Supply, Sanitation, and Food & Public Distribution still remain outside the purview of the Gender Budgeting Statement.