In her Union Budget 2019, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the Indian government's focus on women empowerment, especially in the rural sections of the country.
She placed women empowerment as a key theme in the buget, addressing women in India as "Nari tu Narayani." She said that the recent Lok Sabha elections showed record turnout of women, which was at par with men. "This Government believes that we can progress, with greater women participation," she said.
The Modi government intends to push women entrepreneurship through its government schemes. Sitharaman proposed to extend interest subvention for women self-help groups (SHG) across India.
One woman in every SHG will be eligible for Rs 1 lakh under MUDRA scheme, she said.
With the country's first female full-time finance minister, the budget was expected to be more gender responsive.
During the Modi governance, a Business Today report said that the utlisation of the budget allocation remained repeatedly lower. In 2014, Rs 21,194 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), which was only 3.7 percent higher that the previous budget. Further, only 87.5 percent of this amount was utilised. In FY16, the budget allocation shrunk by a significant 51 percent to Rs 10,382 crore, it said.
While in the next three Union Budgets, the allocation grew by 68 percent, 27 percent and 32 percent, respectively, it was under utilised in two of them- by around 3 percent in FY17 and 8 percent in FY18, the report further said.