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'Upcoming Budget should announce measures to empower women'
'Upcoming Budget should announce measures to empower women'

New Delhi, Jan 24 (TIWN) As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the Union Budget 2020-2021 on February 1, women entrepreneurs have called for measures to empower women financially and promote gender sentisation in the upcoming budget.

According to consultants and leading women entrepreneurs, more schemes and allocations should be made towards empowering more and more women.  Nirupama Subramanian, a consultant in the area of leadership development and personal transformation, said: "Budget 2019-2020 was supposed to be a woman-friendly budget with an allocation of 4.91 per cent towards projects and schemes for women.... The Nirbhaya Fund and schemes like MUDRA, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya and finance for Self Help Groups are steps in the right direction yet much more needs to be done."  Further, direct measures should include provisions to incentivise women to return to work after maternity leave and the government should also increase increasing tax breaks for women-run businesses and incentives for companies that contract to women-owned businesses will support women entrepreneurs, she said.  "This budget needs to focus on both long term and short-term and direct and indirect measures to ensure safety, well-being, education, and employment of women. I would like to see funding for gender sensitisation programs in all schools and colleges, for the police and public service workers," Subramanian said.  Apart from creating a conducive environment for women of all strata of society it is equally important for them to be financially stable, said several women entrepreneurs.  Large number of women from low-income groups work in the micro, small, and medium enterprises and there is demand for more steps to strengthen that segment which would eventually help the economic growth of the participating and working women.  Anuradha Singh, CEO of Delhi-based Indi Collage, says that she looks forward to the "funds of fund" for the MSME sector and observed that the budget needs to address the economic downturn which has severely affected the small enterprises and businesses where a significant part of the workforce is women.  "The tax structure needs to be much simpler, to be able to do business across the states. Textiles and craft sector has been severely hit by the economic downturn & the taxes levied on it, this needs to be addressed or we will turn our skilled craftsmen into labourers," Singh said.

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