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Women should be at the centre of India’s economic recovery plans, suggests report

Women should be at the centre of India's economic recovery plans: Report


Women should be at the centre of India’s economic recovery plans, suggests report

New Delhi, November 2021: A recently released report by The Quantum Hub (TQH) and the Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) at LEAD, has identified solutions and suggestions for a gender-responsive, inclusive, and just economic recovery for India in the COVID-19 context.

The recommendations presented in this paper have been informed by a series of expert consultations and roundtable discussions on various topics that were facilitated by Sattva Consulting.

The report discusses the severe and disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns on vulnerable and marginal groups, specifically girls and women. Women in the labour force, concentrated in the informal sector, suffered heavy livelihood and income losses. Additionally, women have been forced to drop out of the labour market primarily due to their increased unpaid domestic care responsibilities.

The State of Working India Report 2021 suggests that about 47 percent of working women suffered a permanent job loss till December 2020, while the corresponding figure for men was only 7 percent.  The impact of the pandemic on women-owned and women-led micro-enterprises was also severe, with an average drop of about 73 percent in incomes during the early months of the lockdown, and over 10 percent of enterprises closing permanently by May 2020. This crisis of unemployment and loss of livelihood opportunities for women resulted in widespread economic shocks, food and nutrition insecurity, a rise in unpaid care work, as well as a sharp rise in violence against women and girls during the lockdown.

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The paper by IWWAGE and TQH also analyzes the state of gender budgeting in India, particular allocations made towards women and girls in the Union Budget 2021-22. The paper states that India  still spends only a small fraction of its budget on programs targeting nearly half its population, with allocations remaining below 6 percent of the total expenditure since India adopted the practice of gender budgeting in 2005.

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