For India’s post-COVID economic recovery, focus should be on Indian women: report

The pandemic that hit India in 2019 had a serious impact on the livelihoods of its people and had an impact on the country’s economy. To recover, the country must put the needs of women and girls at the forefront, suggests a report by The Quantum Hub (TQH) and LEAD’s Initiative for What Works To Advance Women and Girls in the Economy.

The report focuses on pre-existing data and analyzes the opportunities that can be created for Indian women to develop as an economy. During COVID-19, the inequalities faced by women only worsened, causing severe loss of livelihoods, income insecurity, increased domestic violence and the emotional burden on women. ” take care of family members.

Focus on Women in India’s Post-COVID Economic Recovery:

According to the report, many women were forced to quit their jobs as the need to be a domestic caregiver increased. Until December 2020, around 47% of women suffered a permanent job loss, while only 7% of men suffered the same. In the corporate sector, around 73% of losses were recorded by those led or led by women in the first months of the first lockdown and by May 2020, 10% of these businesses were permanently closed.

In the Union budget 2021-2022, according to the said report, the government allocated only a small fraction of the budget targeting women who make up almost half of India’s population. Since 2005, when India adopted the practice of gender-responsive budgeting, the government has allocated less than 6% of total expenditure.

The report made suggestions for a gender-sensitive economic recovery plan. As such, the State should encourage commercial banks to meet the growing demand for credit from women borrowers. Since economic assets are generally not in the name of women, banks may revise their credit rating models. The government can also help women’s self-help groups to repay outstanding loans or can initiate a program to tackle interest on such loans. The network of third-party workers hired by banks for services can be extended so that rural areas have access to banking services.

The state can also create around three million jobs just by filling the vacancies of Anganwadi, ASHA and other workers. The National Apprenticeship Scheme (NAPS) may receive allowances such as increased allowances for employers who take on female apprentices. Women-specific skill centers can be set up with appropriate funding where women learn skills relevant to the market, including sectors such as green energy and agriculture which are constantly evolving.

Since most Indian businesses are owned by men, the government can give a boost to women entrepreneurs. The Ministry of MSME’s Public Procurement Policy (2018) requires each central ministry, departments and PSUs to target 25% of their purchases from the micro and small enterprise (MSE) sector, of which 3% must come from MSEs owned by women. . It can be increased. The private sector can be incentivized to source from women-owned businesses with tax breaks and subsidies. The PM-KISAN program can be extended to provide cash transfers to farmers who own land to also increase coverage among sharecroppers, with an emphasis on women who do not necessarily own land. Emergency cash transfers can also be used so that they can reach women who have been forced to leave their jobs. Women who run home-based businesses should be assigned more than one cylinder, filling issues can be solved under the PM Ujjwala program.

Since women are held responsible for caring for their family members, the government should launch awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns to combat stereotypes. Companies may be offered tax exemptions or other incentives if they have taken measures to ensure gender equality in the workplace, such as the provision of on-site childcare services and working hours. flexible work.

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