IndiaSpend, data analysis agency writes for Expert Speak to uncover the real numbers behind Budget 2015.


The 2015-16 Budget sees a 19% cut in the overall allocation towards women from last financial year.

The total budget for the Ministry of Women and Child development is less than halved.

Rape crisis centres cut from 660 to 36

A hard look at the numbers

Let’s take a look at the data. As the new Government came to power, they promised that women’s issues will be taken seriously and women’s development was on their agenda. However, the real picture now seems wary.

Gender Responsive Budgeting in India: Funds Decline in Budget 2015-16

The 2015-16 Budget had a 19% cut in the overall allocation towards women from last financial year. The Government is being criticised for slashing funds for women from various quarters.

Let us take a look at the volume of total funds that go towards schemes for women from the past budgets from the last five years:

Budget Allocations for Women in the Past (figures in Rs.Crore)

Year 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Allocation of resources
for women (in Rs Crore )
56,858 67,750 78,251 88,143 97,134 98,030 79,258

Source:Union Budget

Budget 2015-16 sees a 19% cut in the overall allocation towards women from last financial year.

The table above shows the gradual increase in the allocation. But this year, the allocation suddenly declined. The central government has cut down the overall spending on social schemes in the budget 2015-16. And that is also reflected in budget allocations for women.

India ranks among the lowest countries in the world: Gender Inequality

The socio-economic condition of Indian women does not fare too well globally. In UNDP’s (United Nations Development Programme) Gender Inequality Index (GII) India ranks 127 amongst 152 countries. GII takes into account reproductive health, empowerment and economic status of women.

The poor statistics of women’s health and overall social backwardness is reflected in poor international rankings.

Very low rates in female Literacy, child sex ratio and maternal mortality: India

Female literacy rate in India is only 64.6% in census 2011.

Another concern is the decline in the child sex ratio (CSR– girls per 1000 boys aged 0-4 or 0-6) in India from 976 in 1961 to 918 in 2011.

As far as maternal health is concerned, the Millennium Development Goals for maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 140 per 100,000 live births. India had achieved 178 by 2010-12 and it is estimated to reach 141 by 2015.

With such state of affairs cutting down of spending for women may not be conducive for gender development in India.

Ministry-wise Spending Cuts for Women and Child Schemes

Ministry Scheme Interim Budget
Budget 2015-2016
Rural Development National Rural
33,364 2,382.7
Ministry of HRD Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan (SSA)
27,634.7 2,200
  Mid-day Meal 13,152 1,461.4
4,965.5 367
Women and Child
Services (ICDS)
18,170.7 8,345.77
  Rajiv Gandhi
Scheme for
of Adolescent
689.65 10*
  Indira Gandhi
Sahyog Yojana
400 433

Source: Budget 2015-16 (Figs in Rs Crore) *10 crore is Centrally sponsored. Funding through states will be through Nirbhaya Fund.

Less than halved: Budgets for Ministry of Women and Child

The data above show the decline in funding for women in the new regime compared to UPA’s last budget. The total budget for the Ministry of Women and Child development is less than halved. Programmes such as the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) have shown a lot of success with women’s Self-Help Groups.The funds for the old schemes have been slashed while the new schemes are still not implemented fully.

Following are new women’s schemes from the Budget 2015-16:

New Schemes for Women

New Women and Child
Schemes implemented
in 2015-16
Description Ministry
Nirbhaya Fund for
Women Safety
For safety and
security of women
Finance (Department of
Economic Affairs)
Apprentice College
for Women
Sukhanya Samridhi
Part of Beti
Padao Beti Bachao
Beti Padao
Beti Bachao
For promoting survival,
protection, and education
of the girl child
Ministry of
Women and Child

Source: Budget 2015-16(Figs in Rs Crore)

Women’s safety is the biggest challenge before the Government and the Indian society. Various attitudinal studies paint a sad picture when it comes to violence against women.

Nirbhaya Fund: Only 321 crore from 1000 crore utilised

After the Delhi rape case of 2012, the Government of India set up Rs 1000 Crore Nirbhaya Fund in the Budget 2013-14. So far, only Rs 321.69 Crorehave been sanctioned from this fund to build Global Positioning Systems for police to provide speedy help in emergencies. In the present fiscal, another Rs 1000 Crore have been allocated for the Nirbhaya Fund.

The new schemes added last year such as Beti Padao, Beti Bachao addresses low female sex ratio and literacy rates in India. So far, it is too early to comment on the implementation of this scheme. This scheme is being launched through the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development.

More on the writer:

Saumya Tewari and Prachi Salve

About IndiaSpend (www.indiaspend.com)

IndiaSpend is the country’s first data journalism initiative.

They utilize open data to analyze a range of issues with the broader objective of fostering better governance, transparency and accountability in the Indian government.

IndiaSpend is a non-profit and a project of the Spending & Policy Research Foundation, based in Mumbai.


Views expressed are of the author alone and do not necessarily represent that of the brand.

Share this story on

Social Feeds