With increasing focus on making India a better and safer place for its women, the upcoming Union Budget 2019-2020 has promising highlights facilitating the government’s motto of ‘women-led development’.
In order to ensure more and more participation of women in the country’s workforce, the Union Budget is poised for a whopping 20% increase in monetary allocations to the Women and Child Development Ministry. This takes the WCD’s kitty close to Rs. 29,000 crores in the coming fiscal.
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What the Union Budget 2019-2020 holds in store for women
#1. The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
One of the primary reasons for women to leave the workforce is pregnancy. The maternity benefits offered to mothers-to-be are not adequate to inspire them to continue working. This scheme allows partial compensation for any wage loss for women during pregnancy. In addition to this, a compensation of Rs. 6000 is offered to moms post the delivery of their first child. This program saw an increase in the budget from Rs. 1200 Crore to Rs. 2500 Crore. This significant hike will benefit working women who are pregnant or lactating.
#2. Anganwadi Benefits
Anganwadi workers will have a budget of 26000 crores set aside for a hike in their salary. These workers help lactating or pregnant women by serving the hot cooked food or by providing them with necessary information about pregnancy and postnatal care. This program will specifically benefit women in the rural sectors by helping them enjoy a healthy pregnancy and also have a safe delivery. They will have access to nutritious food as well as any assistance when they need.
#3. Integrated Child Development Services
There was a significant hike in the Integrated Child Development Services with a hike in the budget from Rs. 925 crores to Rs. 1500 crores. According to WCD Minister, Maneka Gandhi, this will allow her to make a plan for the next five years to improve the infrastructure for children and women who need protection or care. In the following year, as well, WCD budget will see a marked hike.
#4. TDS Limit On Interest Increased to Rs. 40000
The TDS deduction limit has been increased to Rs. 40000 from Rs. 10000 with the 2019 union budget on interest earned on your savings account. Until now, any interest earned on deposits in the savings account are allowed a 10% deduction in case this amount is more than Rs. 10,000 in one single financial year. This limit has been increased to Rs. 40,000, providing great relief to small depositors, particularly women. This increase in the interest limit will also benefit non-earning spouses as they can accumulate more interest over the given period before any deductions.
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#5. No Income Tax Up To Rs. 5 Lakhs
One of the most important revelations of the 2019 Union Budget was that individuals with income up to Rs. 5 Lakhs are completely exempted from paying any income tax. This is a very important development for both men and women, especially those belonging to the middle class. However, according to recent stats, women only earn a median gross wage Rs. 185 per hour, which is a significant 20% lower than men. But, with these hourly wages, a larger section of women will stand to benefit even with a nine-hour shift as the total salary will remain less than Rs.5 Lakhs.
Other Schemes for Women and Children
There has been a larger allotment for several women-oriented schemes as follows:
#1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
The budget for this scheme allocates Rs. 280 crore in this financial year. The last fiscal year allotted only Rs. 200 crore for this project. This project benefits girl children across the country, promoting their education.
#2. National Creche Scheme
To let working women leave children in crèches safely while they go to work, this scheme has received an enhancement from Rs. 30 crore to Rs. 50 crore.
#3. National Nutrition Mission
To prevent issues related to malnutrition such as anemia or low birth weight of babies
, a budget of Rs. 3400 crores was allotted to this mission.
#4. Working Women’s Hostel Scheme
This scheme has seen a 3 fold increase from Rs. 52 crore to Rs. 165 crore.
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#5. Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme
All the elements of this scheme have been put together and the budget has been increased from 115 crores to 150 crores to open more Mahila Shakti Kendras across the country.
#6. Ujjawala Scheme
This scheme, which provides assistance to women who have been rescued from trafficking has been increased to Rs. 30 crores from Rs. 20 crores.
#7. Mission for Protection and Empowerment of Women
The total budget of this scheme saw a hike from Rs. 1156 crores to Rs. 1330 crores.
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