'Gender budgeting necessary for women's development'

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Issues like girl child's education, sanitation and maternal health have been given importance in the Budget 2014, but it lacks gender budgeting component, said a women's organisation Wednesday.

"It is heartwarming to see that the government is looking to utilise a large part of funds towards women's safety," said Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research.

"The focus of the budget is on issue specific allocations rather than inter-ministerial or inter-departmental allocations which is being done in some progressive countries to ensure gender equality," she said.

Gender budgeting is part of the gender mainstreaming strategy that focuses on gender-based analysis and an equality-oriented evaluation of the distribution of resources.

The government announced the setting up of Nirbhaya Fund of Rs.1,000 crore in the budget.

It also said that Rs.500 million will be spent by road transport and highways ministry on a pilot scheme on "Safety for Women on Public Road Transport".

Also, Rs.1,500 million will be spent by the home ministry on a scheme to increase the safety of women in large cities.

These schemes and funds showed the government's commitment in ensuring women's safety. However, Ranjana Kumari emphasised how gender budgeting can also improve "effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, and transparency" of government budgets.

"The most obvious outcome of gender budget initiatives is improving women's economic equality," said Ranjana Kumari.

"They can also reveal discrepancies between what a government says it is doing and the actual impact of government policies."

"We have very high expectations from the present government and hope it involves women's institutions in the consultative process of developing gender friendly schemes and policies for women," she added.