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What India Really Wants Mr. Jaitley To Know This Budget Session #MyBudgetWishlist

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By YKA Staff

Editor’s note: Amidst heated debates around ‘nationalism’ and ‘sedition’ at JNU, demands of justice for Rohith Vemula’s death, and violent protests led by Jats for reservation, the Budget session of Parliament commenced on 24th February. With the first day spent on the blame-game and some name-calling, the country is anxious to know what the coming financial year will look like. 

The Parliament can be a loud place, and it is easy for the citizen’s voices to drown. #MyBudgetWishlist is Youth Ki Awaaz’s attempt to give these voices a platform. We asked citizens from diverse fields about 3 things they want this year’s budget to focus on and here are the answers they gave:

NupurNupur Mittal, Assistant Professor, English, DU

1. Adequate funds should be earmarked to provide stipends to M.Phil and PhD research scholars, particularly in the Humanities disciplines.
2. More funds should be pushed into development of physical infrastructure in public funded universities.
3. More funds for equipping government hospitals and clinics with the latest medical technologies, which must be updated on a periodical basis.

JyotiJyoti Mhapsekar, President – Stree Mukti Sangathana

1. Restore the 30% cut in the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
2. Allot funds not just for the drafting of laws, but for their implementation.
3. Allot funds for the welfare of constables and women working in the unorganised sector.

akkaiAkkai Padmashali, Trans rights activist, Founder – Ondede

1. Allot funds for the employment of the marginalised sections of society and education of women. Loans should be easily available for women entrepreneurs.
2. Invest in the welfare of the entire transgender community when it comes to education, employment, housing, and small-scale business support.
3. Allot funds to conduct gender sensitisation and training programmes for police and to handle cases of violence against women and transgenders.

Kumar SundaramKumar Sundaram, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)

1. Taxing the rich and cancelling all the staggering holidays given. No writing off corporate loan.
2. More spending on social sector. We have outrageously low spending on education, health and there are further cuts under Modi govt.
3. Transparency on the spending in military and nuclear sector. The globally declining and inherently accident-prone nuclear industry is flourishing in India as the govt is providing hidden subsidies.

RaghavRaghav Bahl, Founder – Quintillion Media

1. Begin withdrawing from areas where markets work, expanding the space and role of private enterprise there.
2. Increase intervention in areas where markets fail – health, education and rural infrastructure.
3. Use Aadhaar and other modern instruments to ensure better targeting and efficiency in these areas.

prem ayyutharaiPrem Ayyathurai, Lawyer

1. With public sector banks running up non-performing assets of Rs 1.14 lakh crore, the govt. should publish the list of large corporate defaulters so that citizens know how public funds are being utilised.
2. Stop budget cuts for government schemes targeting development of women, children and other marginalised.
3. Increase budget allocation towards education. Last year, only 4.6% of the total budget was allocated to education.

nikhil deyNikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan:

1. Central social sector laws such as the MGNREGA should be adequately funded so that their legal mandate can be fulfilled without continual tension.
2. All entitlements from laws and programmes should be indexed to inflation so that at least their real value can be retained. For e.g., social security pensions have remained at Rs 200 per month for almost a decade, bringing their value down to shamefully low levels.
3. Our tax to GDP ratio has to be raised to levels that are comparable with BRICS countries, or other countries like India.

anoop jainAnoop Jain, Founder – Sanitation and Health Rights in India (SHRI)

1. Increase in budget allocation on health. Right now, India only spends 1.2 percent of its GDP on health, the lowest of the BRIC nations.
2. More money spent on women’s rights and empowerment through the ministry of rural development.
3. There is also a need to concentrate on improving India’s infrastructure. This includes trains, railway lines, and roads.

You too can share your wishlist. Add your expectations from the budget to our comments section below. 

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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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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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