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Budget Breakdown: Last Year's Promises and a Wishlist for Women

block letters forming BUDGET

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Explore the successes and letdowns of last year's Union Budget with us. We break down the financial details and share a special wishlist for women in the upcoming budget. Join the journey from past promises to future expectations as we eagerly await Union Budget 2024. Read on.

As January draws to a close, the anticipation for a crucial event that affects each one of us is building up – the Union Budget. Scheduled to be unveiled by our Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1st, this annual financial roadmap captures the attention and expectations of the entire nation. Before we delve into the eagerly awaited revelations of the upcoming budget, let's take a reflective pause and assess the scorecard of last year's financial plan. What promises were made, what expectations were set, and most importantly, were they fulfilled?

In this comparative analysis, we will not only scrutinize the alignment of the previous budget with its promises but also lay down a special wishlist, with a focus on addressing women-centric issues, for the forthcoming budget.

Flashback to February 1st, 2023. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget focusing on five key areas:

5 Key Focus Areas:

Inclusive Development:This meant making sure everyone benefits from the growing economy, especially those in rural areas and from disadvantaged communities. So, the budget increased funding for agriculture, education, and healthcare in these areas.
Reaching the Last Mile:This aimed to ensure benefits reach everyone, even in remote villages. The budget boosted infrastructure spending on roads, bridges, and digital connectivity to   connect remote areas.
Infrastructure & Investment:To create jobs and boost the economy, the budget focused on building highways, railways, airports, and other infrastructure. It also encouraged private companies to invest more in India.
Unleashing the Potential:This meant helping people reach their full potential. The budget offered skill training programs, scholarships, and support for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Green Growth:Recognizing the importance of a clean environment, the budget promoted renewable energy, sustainable farming, and reducing pollution.

Beyond the Five Pillars

The budget also included several other important things:    

Tax relief: The government reduced taxes for individuals and businesses,
hoping to boost spending and investment.
Support for farmers: There was increased funding for irrigation, crop insurance,
and minimum support prices for crops.
Strengthening the defence: The budget allocated more money for the
military and defence equipment.
Digital push: The government announced plans to further digitize India, with
initiatives like e-governance and digital education.

Overall, the 2023 budget aimed to boost the economy, improve lives for everyone, and secure a better future for India. But how well did it do? Did the promises turn into reality?  

Fulfillment of last year's manifesto!

Infrastructure:Did we see those shiny new roads and bridges? Well, progress has been made! Several infrastructure projects are underway, and the government claims to have achieved record spending in this area. However, some critics point out that the focus has been more on big projects than on smaller, rural roads that are crucial for everyday life.
Economy:The economy did receive a boost, with GDP growth exceeding expectations. The tax cuts helped businesses, and job creation increased. However, the rising cost of living and inflation remain concerns, especially for low-income households.
Farmers:The minimum support price increase brought some relief to farmers, but the impact varied depending on the crop and region. Some farmers still face challenges with access to markets and fair prices.
Education and Healthcare:The government did increase funding for schools and hospitals, but the quality and accessibility of services remain uneven across the country. More needs to be done to ensure everyone has equal access to good education and healthcare.
Women's Empowerment:Several schemes were launched to support women entrepreneurs and provide maternity leave. However, addressing deep-rooted gender inequalities and violence requires sustained efforts beyond just financial schemes.

 The 2023 budget delivered on some promises, but not all. There were successes in infrastructure and economic growth, but challenges remain in areas like farmer support, education, and healthcare. 

Women’s Wishlist for Budget 2024

Addressing gender inequality requires more than just financial initiatives. Imagine a world where women in India thrive, not just survive. Where they feel safe, empowered, and have equal opportunities to reach their full potential. That's the vision we're writing this wishlist for – a set of bold aspirations for the upcoming 2024 budget, aimed at making that dream a reality.

1. Safety and Security:Top of the list is ensuring women feel safe in their homes, on the streets, and in every corner of society. This means stricter laws against gender-based violence, better training for police and judicial systems, and accessible support networks for victims.
2. Education and Skill Development:Invest in quality education for girls at all levels, from rural schools to higher education. Provide scholarships and skill development programs to equip women with the knowledge and tools to compete in the workforce.
3. Economic Empowerment:Promote women's entrepreneurship through financial incentives, mentorship programs, and access to markets. Encourage their participation in STEM fields and leadership roles in all sectors.
4. Affordable Healthcare:Ensure accessible and affordable healthcare for women, especially in rural areas. Focus on reproductive health, mental health, and awareness campaigns about maternal care and hygiene.
5. Parental Leave and Childcare: Extend parental leave for both fathers and mothers, and provide affordable childcare facilities to lessen the burden on working parents, especially women.
6. Rural Development: Prioritize infrastructure development in rural areas to give women better access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Focus on empowering women in agriculture through land rights, technology, and market access.
7. Technology and Innovation: Bridge the digital divide by providing affordable internet access and digital literacy training for women in rural and urban areas. Encourage tech startups focused on women's needs and empower women to become creators and innovators in the digital space.
8. Environmental Sustainability: Recognize the role of women in environmental conservation and include them in decision-making processes related to climate change and sustainable development.
9. Social Reforms: Address harmful social practices like child marriage, dowry system, and caste discrimination that hinder women's progress. Promote gender equality through education, awareness campaigns, and legal reforms.
10. Political Participation: Encourage women's participation in politics at all levels through reserved seats, mentoring programs, and funding for women candidates. Ensure their voices are heard and their needs are represented in policymaking.

 This wishlist is ambitious, but so are the dreams of Indian women. The 2024 budget has the power to turn these aspirations into concrete steps towards a future where women stand tall, contributing equally and shaping the destiny of their nation. Let's hope the government listens and acts, because when women rise, India rises.