Millennium Post

Budget 2017: Women, the forgotten sector

The homemakers watched the Union Budget on Wednesday with keen interest, hoping that there would be some relief for them in day-to-day essentials.But their concerns were not addressed in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. With the demonetisation drive leaving the womenfolk already empty-handed and clueless about how to run their families as well as save for them, the Budget disappointed them grossly with the government not doing enough to fulfill its pre-election promises. It also failed to give a clear direction to the interests of the women. "I was eagerly waiting for the Budget. But there is no clear direction to issues that a woman faces in her daily life," says Neeru Dhawan, a resident of Model Town.

The Budget lacks vision and neglects the farmers, youth and especially the womenfolk. The women wanted the government to give them their dues by reducing the prices of essential commodities, like milk and its products, oil and other fast moving consumer goods. But it was not to be. There was also no clear direction on the prices of commodities and details of subsidies on vegetables, cereals, etc. The new Budget shows no sign of relief post demonetisation. The announcement of increasing fund allocation for women and children welfare schemes from Rs 1.56 lakh crore to Rs 1.84 lakh crore was made, but no specific detail has been provided. Women who have been cutting down their household expenses are still struggling to acquire cash in their houses. Independent and single women will continue to bear the maximum brunt as the Budget did not come up with any benefits for them.

The homemakers as well as working women expected a good tax relaxation after demonetisation but only personal income tax rate for people earning between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh has been reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. The people, especially the women, feel that the government has completely neglected the stress and problems faced by them after the currency ban.

However, the government's commitment towards promoting women's security seemed unfounded as there were no such provisions in the Union Budget.
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