How to make financial inclusion work for women in India
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
A striking thing in the BJP’s maiden Budget was integrating gender in the macroeconomic policy framework. The earlier Budgets were largely reaction-based, such as setting up a Nirbhaya Fund of R1,000 crore, or were limited to setting up a Mahila Bank; they were driven more by ‘visibility’ value rather than the real change. Instead, equal partnership between women and men and equitable sharing in the growth outcomes of the country should have been the norm. For half a billion women, one bank qualifies for nothing but tokenism. What women need is access to every bank and access to credit as equal citizens.
Looking at this year’s Budget, the change from tokenism to commitment is evident. Major changes are in the area of “financial exclusion, infrastructure, safety and security, gender mainstreaming, education infrastructure, awareness generation, female survival disadvantages and entrepreneurial skills.”