India’s first full-time woman Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the issue of women empowerment in her maiden Union Budget speech in Lok Sabha on Friday. Referring to the contribution of women in the success and growth of the country, Nirmala said that the “country’s tradition has been ‘naari tu narayani’.
She said that with the announcement concerning women, the government wanted to reinforce its approach which went beyond women-centric initiatives to women-led initiatives. The Finance Minister asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government has always supported “women entrepreneurship through several schemes”.
Announcing a new initiative by the government, the Finance Minister said that the “government proposes to expand Women self-help group (SHG) interest subvention programme to all districts in the country”.
Encouraging more and more women to come forward and shine, Nirmala Sitharaman further announced that one woman in each SHG will be made eligible for loan up to Rs 1 lakh under the Modi government’s Mudra scheme.
She also cited the Lok Sabha election 2019 to highlight increased women participation, saying, “The turnout of women in Lok Sabha election was at par with men…even today there is record number 78 women members of Parliament in the House.”
According to the Finance Minister, India’s growth story, particularly in rural economy, was incomplete without women’s increased participation.
She said that while gender analysis of the budget has been in place for over a decade, the Modi government and private stakeholders would like to take that forward. “We can make progress with greater women participation”.
“Swami Vivekananda had said that there is no chance for welfare of world unless condition of woman is improved. it is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing,” she said.