India’s Gender Budget, which aims to reduce the gender gap, was allocated ₹2.23 lakh crore in the 2023 Union Budget — just 2.12 percent higher than the Revised Estimates (RE) of ₹2.18 lakh crore for 2022-23. However, it was at least 30 percent higher compared to last year’s Budget Estimates (BE) of 1.71 lakh crore.
There was a 0.63 percent rise in the share of Gender Budget in government’s total expenditure. The estimated Gender Budget stood at 4.96 percent of the total expenditure this year, compared to 4.33 percent last year.
The Gender Budget was first introduced in the 2005-06 Budget. It aims to “break down the government’s mainstream budget according to its impact on women and men for gender neutral and gender sensitive sectors,” according to the Women and Child Development Ministry. Ultimately, the Gender Budget intends to achieve gender equality.
The Gender Budget is divided into Part A and Part B. Part A highlights the Women Specific Schemes with 100 percent allocation for women, while Part B includes schemes where at least 30 percent of the allocation is for women.
There was a whopping 228 percent hike in Part A of the Gender Budget compared to last year, while Part B saw a six percent drop from 2022-23.
Safe City Project, an initiative under the Nirbhaya Fund scheme for ensuring safety of women and children, saw an eight-fold increase in allocation – from ₹165 crore in RE 2022-23 to ₹1,300 crore in BE 2023-24.
SAMBAL, a sub-scheme comprising of old schemes like One Stop Centre, Women Helpline and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, saw no change in allocation in the 2023 Budget — ₹562 crore.
Another sub-scheme SAMARTHYA, which includes women empowerment programmes like Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana and Swadhar Greh, was earmaked ₹2,496 crore this year. This was 33 percent more compared to RE 2022-23 but two percent less than BE 2022-23.