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6 Takeaways From Jaitley’s Budget Which Could Change The Fate Of The Country

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By Mayank Jain:

You know that either the situation of the country is bad or the government is overwhelmed by expectations when the budget speech starts with the Finance Minister warning, “It is not wise to expect anything from the new government’s budget”. The budget of 2014 was the apple of everyone’s eyes for a long time. People heaved and sighed at the thought of the financial statement that was expected to reveal the era of development that even the world hasn’t seen before, forget India.

Arun Jaitley budget

The budget of 2014-2015 has finally arrived and the jibes at the FM in the Parliament during the speech itself clearly indicated that not every section is pleased with the appropriations and government’s plans for the financial future of this country.

Dubbed the budget of hope, the annual statement of receipts and expenditures for the country has hit it off very well at some places while for many others, it leaves a lot to be desired. The appropriations appear to be arbitrary while the intentions appear much more polished and streamlined this time than the previous few budgets which have been the epitome of populism.

Newer initiatives by the government stand out in a stark contrast from the highly uncreative strategies that were being doled out to us in the name of financial plans in the UPA budgets. The budget of 2014-2015 can be rightly called a fix to problems more than an innovation exercise as government has stuck to basics as it attempts to curb inflation and keep unchecked privatization in control.

This post is about the positives which emerged from the pandora’s box that Jaitley opened with much enthusiasm. Let’s walk through the 10 hits of the Modi government’s budget:

1. Spearheaded focus on education:

Almost half of the children of the country don’t get to go to pre primary schools as the enrolment ratio for both males and females hover around a measly 53% and the need for educational reforms in this scenario can hardly be overemphasized.

The allocation of 28635 crores for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) and 4966 crore for Rashtriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is a step in the right direction. To beef up the quality of higher education, the government has also announced 5 new IITs and IIMs each. The process of procuring loans for higher education will be relaxed too.

 2. Community Representation

One of the surprising parts in the budget was Arun Jaitley’s focus on empowering communities which are yet unrepresented and some allocations in the same direction were more than welcome.

One such appropriation was a grant of 100 crores to strengthen and build up new community radio stations in the country and take the total tally to 600 of them. Community radios play a big role in helping the members of communities deep in the interiors of the country maintain contact and report on issues that the mainstream narrative rarely picks up if not for these radios.

A programme for the up gradation of skills and training in ancestral arts for development for the minorities by the name of “Up gradation of Traditional Skills in Arts, Resources and Goods” will also be launched that will provide the right impetus for the minorities to come out in the open and showcase their rich legacy.

3. Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Mr. Jaitley demonstrated his own risk taking abilities when he threw open his pockets for the entrepreneurial development of the country. He has apportioned a substantial amount for the government to work on building entrepreneur culture in the country and power the enterprises which come down due to lack of funds.

A mega fund with a corpus of 10,000 crores for providing equity through venture capital funds, quasi equity, soft loans and other risk capital specially to encourage new start-ups by youth will prove to be a game changer for the Indian start-up scene which had been long ignored for a long time now.

4. Gender Sensitization and Crisis Response Centers

Probably the best thing government could do in this budget was announce gender sensitivity education measures. Funds have finally been allocated to the gender sensitivity program where curriculum will include a chapter on the gender differences and sensitivity across schools and colleges.

At the same time, Crises Management Centers have also been announced across all districts of Delhi, the national capital. A sum of 100 crores will also be provided for “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana”, a focused scheme to generate awareness and help in improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.

5. FDI In Defense

India has been the world’s top arms buyer for the past three years and reforms in defense were much needed. The finance cum defense minister finally heard the plea of armed forces and took steps to increase the spending and also focused on indigenous manufacturing of arms.

The foreign direct investment cap has been raised to 49% from the previous 26% so that the country can benefit from the global interests and at the same time, innovate with new technologies which are not only cutting edge but critical to our security. The defense spending has been boosted by 14% in this budget over past year and the total is set at 2.29 trillion Indian rupees.

6. Bag of goodies

Apart from the bigger initiatives like the ones above, finance minister appeared to be very keen on giving boost to other sectors and communities and his appropriations clearly reflect that.

While use of Braille on the currency notes to aid visually impaired people is one of a kind move that nobody thought of, solar power run agricultural pumps are another one of his best offerings to the country which will help save money and energy. The FDI in insurance sector has also been boosted to 49% from the previous 26% and the returns of which are soon expected to follow.

Keen on raising a generation of sport stars, relevant appropriations have been made to Jammu and Kashmir for developing and upgrading their stadiums. National academies will also be set up to train youth for the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian games.

The inevitable also happened and the excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco products has been raised while the cap of exemption on income tax has been extended by 50,000 Indian rupees.

Going forward, the budget is far from historic but away from being labeled a blunder either. The government has just begun and it shouldn’t find it too hard to correct the course of this country if they stick to their plans and not let government take place of governance.

You must be to comment.
  1. gautam govinda

    no matter much hike there is in cigarettes and liquor prices, the consumption would be the same and more revenue would be generated. It’s a brainy move by jaitley. If only marijuana was legalised too and Indian porn industry was given a boost too, then the budget would’ve been perfect.

  2. Gaurav

    Excellent budget and Excellent article. some hope after a long time. best of luck to us all

  3. Gaurang Sheth

    I don’t understand from people when they say…its nothing new…well…yes its is not….did u expect black money brought in by FM in budget ?…Did u expect sudden revenue or FII to brought in or considered ?….did u expect he will going to announce Business plan which will suddenly solve issues or brought Fiscal deficit to minus from 6%… the best possible thing was to clear the intentions about financial policies.. Guys its not budget which will solve the problems …its implementation….USP of this government is they know whats funds are to be used when….thats what i need to see at center….as all moneys allocated in march budget goes dont know where in Novembers supplimentry budget….success rate for budget is 100% expenditure and 30-50% on results…..if that changes then i will say the budget was historical..

  4. Arati

    Just a small step in the right direction. The Finance Minister has tried a balancing act, with renewed thrust on a few neglected areas of the past (The importance given to the development of the north-east should be commended for its nationalistic vision and the increased allocation for internal security is also a welcome measure ). Of course, a dramatic overhaul in the maiden budget itself would be impossible. The full potential of an expanding economy can be realized only after eliminating the inherent flaws and misappropriation rampant till now. On the whole, an inclusive budget on numerous fronts and far from disappointing.

    A very well-written article.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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