AIDWA calls Union budget ‘anti-women and pro-corporate’ 

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March 1, India: The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has expressed its concern over the Union budget 2015-16 announced by the government on Saturday saying the budget as anti-people and anti-women.

AIDWA noted with concern that the NDA government has provided sops and tax reductions to the corporate sector without addressing the problems of the mass of the laboring people in general and the women in particular.

In a statement the women’ rights group said, “In the Economic Survey, 2014-2015 the Government states that it aims at ‘Wiping every tear from every eye’, but in reality it increases the burden on the people by increasing the burden of indirect taxes. This increase is in sharp contrast to the abolition of the wealth tax  and the phased reduction of corporate tax. Therefore despite all its populist pronouncements, the budget is pro-rich and pro-corporate in its orientation.”

AIDWA further said that the anti-people and anti-woman character of the budget is evident in the long term direction for the withdrawal of the state from the social sector. The total social sector allocation in the budget has come down from 16.3 per cent 2014-2015 (budget estimates) and 15.06 per cent revised estimates, 2014-15 to 13.7 per cent of the Central budget outlay in 2015-2016.  Within this overall decrease the percentage of allocation for women and child development remains stagnant at 0.01 percent of the total budget.

As far as gender budget is concerned, the budgetary allocations have decreased from 4.19 per cent of the estimated total budgetary expenditure in 2014-2015 to 3.71 per cent of the total expenditure in the current budget. In absolute terms this constitutes a decrease in 12.2 per cent in the gender budget and almost a 49.3 per cent decrease in the allocation of the Ministry of Women and Child Development over the revised budget of 2014-15, said AIDWA in its statement.

Even if we add the Rs. 1000 Cr for the Nirbhaya fund and Rs. 100 Cr for the Beti Bachao Andolan to the ministry’s allocation there is still a decrease of approximately 38 per cent in the total amount allocated for women and child development.”

AIDWA said that one of the big casualties of this budget had been the MNREGA which has provided some employment to working class women. In his intervention in parliament, Prime Minister Modi stated that MNREGA symbolized the monumental failure of Congress led governments.

The statement said, “This is an insult to the struggles of labouring women whose survival depends on this scheme. This is also reflected in the budgetary allocations. There is a nominal increase in the total budgetary allocations for MNREGA which will not even take care of the rising implementation costs.”

As far as the allocations for women safety are concerned, the budget increases the Nirbhaya Fund by Rs.1000 Cr. Though on the face of it this may be a welcome step, it needs to be noted that the previous allocations under Nirbhaya fund also went unspent as the government has no concrete plan to implement this fund, AIDWA accused .

“The medium and long term measures proposed by this budget will bring about structural changes that will place greater burden on all women, especially from the rural and urban poor sections. Thus, the AIDWA calls up on all its organizations and the women of the country to oppose this anti-people and anti-women budget,” AIDWA said.

The Oslo Times

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