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Feminism Beyond Boundaries, May 2018: Women and Budgets in India by Sona Mitra

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working in brothels, red light districts, and caste ghettos all ??? nomadic, and semi nomadic groups trapped in intergenerational prostitution in Bihar, Delhi, and ???. Apne Aap Women Worldwide and Oxford welcomes you to the 27th series of Feminism Beyond Boundaries, entitled Women and Budgets in India. For today's talk, we are delighted to have with us Ms. Sona Mitra Sona Mitra works as a senior researcher for public policy think tank, center for budget and governance accountability. She is an economist by training, and has been working on gender and development issues for more than a decade now. Her central focus remains on the issues related to the political economy of women and work. Trying to understand the subordinate status of female labor in the capitalist economy While working with Phoebe GK, in the last decade, she has had, at the same time looked at public policy issues concerning women using the budgetary lens. She also teaches as an adjunct faculty at Maitreyi University Delhi. I welcome you ma'am. Thank you ?, thank you ?, thank you Apne Aap Women Worldwide for asking me to give a talk on this The whole idea of speaking about women in budgets actually originates from this whole discourse on gender ??? dominance which dominates the policy discourse in the country, not only in the country internationally, whenever we talk about women in public policy. And especially in the context of when we talk about budgeting for women. And by budgeting for women- support the programs and policies which impact women which are for the overall development of women. Now, before getting into what gender responsive budgeting is, and what I'm proposing to do in this talk, just a little bit about the place from where I come from the center for budget and governance accountability, was established way back in 2002 and has been instrumental in implementing and executing the gender responsive budgeting in India we have been working on all gender responsive budgets since the time of its inception in the country, in the policy making circles, and it is not only our gender budgeting that CBG works on, with time we have been working on overall public policy, looking at public policy from a gendered lens from the lens of social deprivation and social exclusion. So, getting back to the topic, so ?? asked me to speak, she had thought of me as I would be talking about the Indian budget and women but then I told her that I am going to give an overview about how gender responsive budgeting emerged over the years in India. And when I proposed to do that that cannot be an exercise without talking about the planning exercise in India. So if we think about gender responsive budgeting in India, it has to be somewhere within the context of the Indian planning exercise. However, the fact or the reality right now is that we do not have a planning commission the planning commission was disbanded when the new government was formed in 2014. However, to understand the evolution, or to understand how gender responsive budgeting was adopted in India, the Indian planning exercise needs to be praised and it has to be looked from the gender lens. In that context, whenever we talk about, or whenever we are trying to understand the discourse on public expenditure in India from a gender lens we have to go back to the 1970s or especially in 1974 when the phenomenal report for the ? towards equality, which was brought about by the committee on the status of women in India, it was published in 1974 the committee was constituted by the government of India and the findings of the report basically ? certain important factors which give the whole notion of the subordinate status of women in the economy and how women were being deprived from the overall planning exercise. In fact, some of the feminist ? go way back, way beyond 1974 and talk about a document which is called the- a document which is named as "Women's Role in a Planned Economy" so the WRPE document, which was which was produced in 1939 which was in the pre-independence era by a national planning committee which was formed by the ? congress party and had distinguished members like ? and ? and many others who later on ?? India and many important positions in the planning and the policy sector. So the 1939 document of women's role in a public, planned economy the WRP document basically was a very radical document coming in the 1930s- coming in 1939 because it raised questions about not only about empowering women not only about improving the status of women, it actually highlighted the plight of women. It wasn't talking only about development of women, or deprivation that was faced by women it was also talking about women as agents of economic development. It actually talked about women's work, it highlighted the issues related to women's work. It also highlighted the issues related to women who were in fact not only workers, but also women were cleaning the households. So the term used in the report was housewives. The role of housewives in development of equality, in development of the economy so by that, in those days it was actually talking about women's unpaid work and relating it with the development process. So way back in 1939, when the global discourse was not talking about unpaid work when the international discourse, the international feminist movement was struggling with getting suffragist rights and in India we had developed a document which was talking about empowerment of women, not only the empowerment of women as workers but empowerment of overall development of women who were doing unpaid care and housework. So it was that radical in a sense and that document was providing, actually it provided a road map for transformation of the status of women rather than looking at women as only individuals who would be benefitted by the development process. So in this entire context, one has to realize that even at that point when we did not have any evidence, that document, the Women's Role in a Planned Economy, that document was essentially a principle based document, it was based on principles which gave some rights, which gave some roadmap and ideas on how to develop or how to have policies or how to have policies within the planned economy which would impact women in a way that it would be transformative and not only about women's welfare. So why I am saying this and because it was only after a great period after 39, it was only after this whole lull in 1974 the CSWI, that is the Committee on Status of Women in India, ?? equality report emerged and, unfortunately, that committee- the findings of this committee's report actually highlighted certain kinds of women, which showed that the role of WRP had gone unrecognized throughout the post-independence planning period So, you have to understand that when, in 1974, this report was being placed, it was already the ?? of India. So, four plans, two decades of planning, and CSWI could highlight the disjunct between the planning exercise and the women's question in India. So, basically, we, on one hand, have the 70s, the women's movement in India developing, talking about raising the busy questions of women's empowerment and that those questions were not in line with the planning exercise and that was essentially because planning for the two decades was mostly concentrated on policy making ? concentrating on economic growth And economic growth which was focused on growth in agriculture growth of industry, growth of services, or in terms of growth in output What is our output in these? And could not transcend the boundaries and get into development of the social sectors such as education, health, and other factors

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Posted by: us_apneaap on Jul 9, 2019

Sona Mitra works as a Senior Researcher for a public policy think tank- Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA). She is an economist by training and has been working on Gender and Development issues for more than a decade now. Her central focus remains on the issues related to the political economy of women and work, trying to understand the subordinate status of female labour in a capitalist economy. However, while working with CBGA, in the last decade she has simultaneously looked at public policy issues concerning women, using the budgetary lens. She also teaches as an adjunct faculty at the Ambedkar University, Delhi

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