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Sunday, June 7, 2015, Jaishtha 24, 1422 BS, Shaban 19, 1436 Hijr


Women's access to funds 'key to success of gender budget'
Banani Mallick
Published : Sunday, 7 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 18
Ensuring accountability and good governance are very important for proper implementation of the Gender Budget, said experts and women activists.
"Whatever be the structure of the gender budget, there should be presence of accountably and good governance," said Dr Maleka Begum, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, on Saturday.
Finance Minister AM A Muhith placed the budget for the fiscal year of 2015-16, in Parliament on Thursday.
Maleka Begum also added that increasing allocation for education sector is not enough, rather creation of an enabling environment, prevention of sexual violence, reducing child marriage and providing transport facilities to women are also very important.
Referring to the Safety Net Programme, she said that government must form a monitoring cell to supervise whether the expected stakeholders are brought to the programme.
"We came to know that about 10,000 women workers will go to Saudi Arabia. Now government's duty is to provide various trainings so that they could manage more decent job." She said.
She also said that there should be proper access for women relating to bank loans under Gender Budget.
"Women's access to resources is very important for women development. So the government should create these scopes to ensure women empowerment," she said.
In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the total allocation for the gender budget was Tk 2,39,668 crore and in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, it is Tk 2,95,100 crore and about 40 ministries and divisions will work under Gender Budget under the supervision of monitoring officers from each ministry.
Finance Minister AHM Muhith, during his Budget speech in 2015-2016, said "I have already mentioned, if women participation is raised in economic activities of the country, the growth potential would increase significantly."
All programmes related to women development and employments are being re-structured in order to enhance women's participation in all economic activities to 50 per cent by 2021.
Creation of institutional infrastructure for this organisation is underway and a range of steps have been taken up for skills development of women, he added.
You may be aware that the Joyeeta Foundation is working to commercially engage grassroots level women in the supply chain from production to distribution, the minister said.
Referring to the Joyeeta programme' status, the Finance Minister also said that it will gradually be extended to divisions, districts and upazilas in phases.
The Joyeeta Foundation is working to commercially engage grassroots level women in the supply chain from production to distribution.
Talking about skills development of women entrepreneurs, he also added that already the government has taken up necessary steps to set up permanent centers for skills development and hostels for women entrepreneurs.
Besides, a number of activities for women development including child marriage prevention, and training on driving, catering and freelance ICT jobs are in the pipeline for implementation.
Banks have been instructed to provide agricultural and rural credit to women on priority basis.
On the issue of Protection of Children's Rights, he also added that government has taken some noteworthy steps recently for the physical and mental development of children, such as establishment of child day care centres for women workers in garments industries, programmes to raise awareness of bad effect of child marriage to prevent violence against children, and establishment of 6 child development centres to provide destitute, orphan, helpless street children with shelter, food, clothing, and educational materials and also to create schooling opportunities for them with health, sports and entertainment facilities.
Ranjon Karmokar, Executive Director of Steps Towards Development, expressing his views about the present Gender Budget said that progress relating to women development was mentioned in the budget for FY 2014-2015 but there was no data on progress in specific areas.
A farmer can open an account by paying only Tk 10 but it was not clearly mentioned how many women farmers and male farmers are availing this opportunity, he said.
"This problem is happening due to lack of disintegrated data. For example we came to know the employment has increased but it is not separately mentioned what is the percentage of men and women," he said."
Talking about positive side of the budget of 2015-2016, he said that to enhance women's skills, the government has taken up some good initiatives.
Earlier, other women experts, expressing their disappointment said that allocation for women's health went down by 4 per cent in the 2014-15 budget from the 2013-2014 allocation.







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