FinMin emphasises on "Naari Shakti" in Budget

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI Photo)

Nirmala Sitharaman, the first full-time woman finance minister of India, presented her maiden Budget on Friday and there was an emphasis on women empowerment. She referred to women as "Naari tu Naarayani" in her Budget speech.

She quoted Swami Vivekananda and said, "There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing”. In the context of the quote, she made it clear that the Modi government believes in the participation of women.

Sitharaman said that Budget allocations through the gender lens had been in practice for over a decade. The socio-economic transformation has been taking place for the last decade and women's roles and leadership are rising, especially in politics, she said. This year, a record 78 women MPs were elected to the Parliament.

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The finance minister said that it was important to have women-led initiatives, not just policies for women. To boost these initiatives, she proposed an expansion of the Self Helf Group (SHG) interest subvention for all districts in the country. Further, she proposed an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 for every woman who is an SHG member and has a Jan Dhan account.

She also proposed an expansion of the MUDRA scheme, that is, one woman in every SHG would be made eligible for a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh, so as to encourage women entrepreneurship.

She talked about improving the state of the economy by boosting foreign investments and igniting a spirit of hope that India could become a $5 trillion economy in the coming years.

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