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Thursday, January 24, 2008

India seeks 'gender-sensitive development’

Women may soon be able to have a greater say at different levels and stages of developmental planning, policy and programme formulation.

Government is coming up with guidelines on ‘How to practice Gender-Budgeting’ for all the central ministries in the country.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has prepared a handbook on the ‘dos and donts’ on practicing gender budgeting.

The policy would be about incorporating a gender perspective and sensitiveness at all levels and stages of the developmental planning, policy and programme formulation.

The initiative in India was taken in July 2000 when a workshop on engendering national budgets in the South Asia Region was held in New Delhi in collaboration with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in which government representatives, UN agencies, media and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) participated among others.

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPF&P) was commissioned to study gender-related economic policy issues, which included gender segregation of relevant macro data, quantification of contribution of women in economy and assessment of impact of government budget on them.

Currently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development wants every ministry to set up ‘Gender Budget Cells’ (GBCs) that will help remove disparities in access and control over resources.

“So far, there are 53 Gender Budgeting Cells but if every ministry will have it, the concept of gender-budgeting would be known to every one. Currently, there are people who are not actually aware of the concept of gender budgeting,” sources in the ministry said.

“These disparities get reflected in important social development circle,” a senior official of the ministry said.

The ministry has prepared a 20 page-handbook on the subject, which talks about gender-budgeting, the problem areas and how to practice it.

“The handbook is not only to spread awareness but also to ensure that people in position convey to the subordinates about the practices so that the change come at every level,” sources said.

The handbook is ready and will soon be released to help the different ministries practice it in right spirit, they added.

NGOs also welcomed the decision of introducing guidelines.

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