The government is ready to present yet another Union Budget 2023. However, we entered the new year with several global geopolitical uncertainties, the slowing growth of the world economy, and numerous multinational companies executing mass layoffs.
Only 18% of women are responsible for India's GDP. The number merely emphasises the enormous potential that is still unrealised. Women play a critical role in India's unfolding story of rapid prosperity. There is still a long way to go, despite the government's implementation of a number of progressive programs and policies during the past few years.
For the last four years, Finance Minister Nirmalaa Sitharaman has tried to focus on women in her Budget speeches by implementing programs like Daanyalakshmis (seed distributors) or revising programs like Saksham Anganwadi, Poshan 2.0, Mission Shakti, and Mission Vatsalya.
Ignore politics for a moment. Celebrate. BIG DAY for India,it’s Constitution & it’s followers.First time ever since 1947, a woman @rashtrapatibhvn to kick start a Parliament session for #Budget2023 2 b presented by a woman @FinMinIndia@nsitharaman@narendramodi@IndiaTodaypic.twitter.com/IbBV2agl3H— rahul shrivastava (@Rahulshrivstv) January 31, 2023
Here are five sectors where women want Sitharaman to focus on in Budget 2023.
Access to financing for women entrepreneurs is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. Along with tax breaks and incentives for startup funding, women are hopeful for improved access to loans and subsidised credit for women-owned enterprises. These will continue to support firms and boost the economic impact of businesses operated by women. Women entrepreneurship will receive the much-needed boost, and more women will be motivated to launch firms.
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Education, Safety, and Healthcare
In addition to the numerous government-run programs like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, and the National Rural Livelihood Mission, the budget must include provisions for women to have improved access to healthcare, education, and safety. Funding for these programs could be increased, which might enhance their effectiveness and reach.
Maternity and Childcare
Programs for pregnant women and new mothers would benefit greatly from increased financial support from the government. Expanding the reach of initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a part of this. The Finance Minister should also consider expanding access to reasonably priced daycare, which is one of the major obstacles for women finding stable employment. This will help women balance their obligations to their families and their jobs.
A powerful visual of women-led development & #women empowerment!— Dr. Sangita Reddy (@drsangitareddy) January 31, 2023
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Asset Possession and Credit Availability
Women expect the Finance Minister to reduce the economic gender gap by introducing greater fiscal incentives for women. Fiscal incentives are components of fiscal policy that have the power to persuade and motivate people and businesses to perform in a certain way by providing financial compensation for specific actions. Fiscal incentives for women may include tax breaks on the purchase of assets like property and autos. They will be motivated to acquire more assets as a result, increasing their financial independence. Women-focused preferred loan programs for homes, cars, and businesses will prove to be a huge economic boost.
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Scientifically, on average, women tend to outlive men. In that case, to maintain themselves in their old age, they require a larger retirement fund and a greater pension. The government should consider raising the pension amount for women or offering pension plans to women who don't already have one.