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The Ladies Seat on #Budget2017

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As a nation dubbed a melting pot of cultures, India well to absorb much good from every invader. The same, though, (and thankfully) just ain’t true for our policies for women.

Unlike how long “foreign cultures” have taken to repeal their epithets on women as mere baby-producing cleaning machines, with zero rights to life or livelihoods, India has, historically,  celebrated the involvement of women across both its ancient civilisations as well as throughout its struggle for freedom. In light of such active acknowledgement, it seems not just unfair, but also absurd, that the Union Budget, over the years, has averted its focus to the development of 49% (source: 2010 Census report) of its population – us, the X chromosomers.

We at iX asked 5 women across ages and geographies a few basic questions that tells just how many nibble-sized thoughts the government gives towards women’s upliftment and all that’s left desired.

Radhika: 40; mother to a son, 18 and daughter, 23; recently divorced, Pune

Sana: 26; founder – SHURUA(R)T, Varanasi

Krupa: 31; tutor & blogger, Chennai

Vidushi: 38; founder – Clone Futura, Mumbai

Madhavi: 27; senior consultant, Great Place To Work, Mumbai

1. What would be two women-centrist initiatives you’d like to see (or develop) this Budget

Radhika: Incentives for women entrepreneurs and their startups, and tax concessions for salaried women who get no alimony.

Sana: Clean public toilets for women, and a dedicated platform guiding the female entrepreneurs from small towns and villages, from finance and scaling to corporate laws and taxes.

Krupa: Better standard deduction on taxable income for women and more budget to be allocated for women centered business.

Vidushi: (in general, and not just exclusively to women) At school level, options for skill development courses and integration of skill development and education. Awareness (programs) for start-ups and ed-tech companies that facilitate consumers with online classes, communication evolution, interactive textbooks, expanding audience, rise of web-based research, and gamification.

Madhavi: Initiatives for women returning to the work space after a career break

2. Your hashtag for the #budget?

Radhika: #womenforbudget

Sana: #betisebusinesskarwao

Vidushi: #taxbenifits

3. What did you think of:

  1. #SwachhBharat
  2. #StartUp
  3. #Digitisation
  4. #Demonetisation

Radhika:

#StartUp – overrated
#Digitisation – essential but the roadmap is missing
#Demonetisation – not very well planned

Sana:

#SwachhBharat: A wonderful concept executed occasionally during PM visits.
#Digitisation: A cover-up campaign to hide the damage caused by demonetization.
#Demonetisation: Illogical

Krupa:

#Demonetisation – goes hand in hand with digitisation

Vidushi:

#SwachhBharat: Excellent for India to be one of the cleanest countries in the world … (and) to have a healthy India.
#Digitisation: Although it is difficult and requires lot of systematic implementation in all sectors, it will help in our Prime Minister’s digital India dream.
#Demonetisation: Was a good step in stopping the flow of black money in our country.

Madhavi:

#Demonetisation – Could have been better managed.

4. What’s the biggest problem you/ women in your city face?

Radhika: A lot of us don’t understand taxes and have no education about family run businesses and how to get information about our husband’s financial standing.

Sana: Lack of job opportunities. Women generally aren’t allowed to leave their families to chase their career unlike men.

Krupa: (the lack of- ) safety for women

Vidushi: Lack of strong mentorship, struggle with finance and funding, finding the right talent, scaling up and turning it profitable etc. are some challenges.

Madhavi: (lack of -) Safety

5. What do you think is the ratio of women to men in the Parliament?

Sana: I don’t know the exact number, but I’m sure it’s sufficient to be termed ‘pathetic’.

Krupa: NO IDEA

Vidushi: Overall I think we have a decent ratio of women capable of voicing their opinions.

Madhavi: Can definitely be increased.

6. Do you pay tax?

Radhika: Yes

Sana:  I don’t come under the tax slab, but my company pays every tax required, timely and honestly.

Krupa: Yes

Vidushi: Yes

Madhavi: Yes

7. Do you have an Aadhar card?

Radhika: Yes

Sana: Yes

Krupa: Yes

Vidushi: Yes

Madhavi: No

8. Do you think your male colleagues/ counterparts earn better than you?

Radhika: Yes. I have seen this happen at my work space.

Sana: No

Krupa: In general yes. In the teaching profession no. We all earn the same.

Vidushi: No

9. Do you own any gold?

Radhika: Yes.

Sana: No

Krupa: No

Vidushi: Yes I have a normal amount of gold like every other common woman.

Madhavi: No

10. Did you know that the government increased duties on jewellery imports in Budget2017? Did it affect you?

Radhika: No, I was not aware.

Sana: I had no idea. But if it’s so, I think it’s a good measure. Blocking the capital by buying jewelry to flaunt as dowry, or as a status symbol does good to none.

Krupa: Because I don’t generally buy jewellery from outside the country.

Vidushi: No. Since I had not imported any jewellery there was no drastic affect.

Madhavi: Wasn’t aware.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only. The authors and publishers are not responsible or liable in any manner for any actions you might take relying on the contents of this article.

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