• The Big Budget 2016-17: Why is it so important for women?

    The budget season is here. That time of the year when small sellers hoard goods and products, expecting a profitable hike. The railway budget, presented today, looks promising as 33% sub-quota for reservation of seats for women in all reserved categories.(IndianExpress) On Monday, ie the day of the leap year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present his budget recommendations before the house.

    After the year that we have had, with farmer suicide, dalit atrocities and a special oppression in education; it will be critical to see how the government prioritizes its resources. Will it focus more on internal security and defense, or will they focus on foreign trade? or education? or social justice? There are many speculations, especially after record economic slowdown in this quarter.

    We have seen how women in agriculture are an ignored species. Though most of the work is done by them, farming is seen as largely a man’s domain. Read more about it hereKirthi Jayakumar, Storyteller at The Red Elephant Foundation shares her thoughts on the farming sector:

    “Having seen the kind of ravages that the weather can create on agricultural produce, I’m interested in seeing what the budget this year can do for non-farm opportunities for the non-farm sector. This is particularly of use to women who can make good use of their rural crafts and grass-root activities that can facilitate their economic independence.” 

    Another big problem in our country and its women is business leadership. There are only about 3-4% women in senior leadership roles, mostly with lesser authority than the men in the room. Surabhi Dewra, CEO & Co Founder at CareerGuide.com sites her examples and expectations on similar lines:

     While we saw last year India Inc struggled to meet with the deadline of having mandatory women directors in listed companies. What we needed was just less than 1000 women leaders to put on the board !! Clearly a gap in leadership and will from corporation to imply on gender diversity.This compliance should move to all companies coming under companies act which will not only answer gender diversity but will give enough participation to women in India’s economic growth.

    Women and Budget Expectations

    Women and Budget Expectations, Pic by Business Standard

    At the Startup India conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a promise to the female entrepreneurs in the country, assuring them tax discounts. Read the full action plan here. Let’s hope that materializes, as it will be a great boost to participation of women in the entrepreneurial space.

    Dr. Shikha Suman, Founder & CEO at medimojo.in, agrees to the thought. She says:

     Allocate 10% of startup funds for women entrepreneurs for women specific ecosystem development, travel support to attend events abroad and angel/ seed funding.

    In order for women to be successful, the most important thing is to create a facilitative environment for them to be able to freely access the new space and make good of it. Richa Sharma, Editor at offdhook.com

    I as an entrepreneur would definitely like to see more of stimulation to boost the ecosystem of entrepreneurs. More and more incubators or accelerators for entrepreneurs would prove beneficial in creating a roadmap of success and growth. At last I would want our FM to put more emphasis on creating a women-friendly environment in the digital space by giving special roll outs and incentives to digital start – ups.

    The budgetary provisions this year are going to shape the future of the Indian Economy and society for at least the next decade, as a large focus is going to be on investment. This is as big as the liberalisation of the 90s.