Budget 2013 – What does it mean for women in India?

P. Chidambaram dedicated the 2013 budget to three faces of India – Women, Youth and the Poor. Indicating that the Government has ‘a collective responsibility to ensure the dignity and safety of women’, the Budget recognizes the increase in gender-based violence and attempts to fund various women-friendly schemes. The two most talked about are the Nirbhaya Fund and the All-women Bank.

Chidambaram voices his concern and says, “”Recent incidents have cast a long, dark shadow on our liberal and progressive credentials. As more women enter public space – for education or work or access to services of leisure – there are more reports of violence against them…Women play multiple roles as a child, a young student, sportswoman, homemaker, working woman and the mother who needs support from the government.”

Other than the general schemes, the following are the key highlights of the Budget 2013 which directly impact women in India:

  1. Gender budget – Rs. 97,134 Crore allotted for the Gender Budget for 2013-14.
  2. Nirbhaya Fund – Rs. 1000 Crore will be allocated for the Nirbhaya Fund to ensure safety and empowerment of women. Ministry of Women to plan how to utilize these funds.
  3. All-Women Bank – A bank for women, by women and of women. Rs1000 crore as initial capital for a women’s public sector bank set to be India’s first bank for women. It will be a bank that lends mostly to women and women-run businesses, that supports women SHGs and women’s livelihood, that employs predominantly women, and that addresses gender related aspects of empowerment and financial inclusion. The bank would be set up by October, 2013.
  4. Safety at the Work place – Rs. 200 Crore additionally allotted to the Women and Child Ministry to develop measure to ensure that work places are free from gender discrimination.
  5. Scholarships – Rs. 5,284 to be allocated for Scholarships to SC/ST/Minorities and Girl children.



Rubina Singh is Director of Hollaback! Chandigarh.

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