What's for women in Budget 2019

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

The election year budget has promised a lot particularly with extensions of some schemes, tax benefits and self-employment schemes. Let’s take a look at the impact on women across all income classes.

Mudra Yojna

The Mudra Yojna Scheme launched by the Government of India is trying its very best to improve the status of women by providing loans and encouraging them to start new ventures and thereby empowering them by providing a financial security of individual income. A specified sum of money is allotted to be funded to just the women entrepreneurs.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presenting this year’s budget has said that more than 70% of the beneficiary of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna to get an affordable and collateral free loan to start businesses are women.

But the Women entrepreneurs have highlighted that gaps still persist in this government initiative. The major problem area seems to be the awareness. There is still large percentage of women unaware of it, even though interest in entrepreneurship has gone up.

Maternity Benefits

The allocation for Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana, maternity benefit scheme that aims to provide partial compensation for wage loss to women during their pregnancy and offers a cash incentive of Rs 6,000 to mothers for the birth of their first child, is more than doubled to 2500 crore from 1200 crore in the current financial year. The programme provides Rs. 6000 each to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Protection & Empowerment

An amount of Rs 1,330 crore has been provided in the budget for 2019-20 for the Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women. This is an increase of Rs 174 crore over the revised estimates of 2018-19 for the mission.

Tax Rebate And Other Benefits

- Individual taxpayers having an annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh will get full tax rebate.

- Interest on fixed deposits of up to Rs 40,000 will not require TDS.

- Individuals with gross income of up to Rs 6.5 lakh will not need to pay any tax if they make investments in provident funds and prescribed equities. Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 is the limit of exemption on interest tax on deposits.

- The amount of standard deduction for salaried individuals has been increased from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.

- At least eight crore free LPG connections under Ujjwala scheme

- 25 per cent of sourcing for government projects will be from MSME, of which three per cent will be from women entrepreneurs.

According to last year's 'Monster Salary Index' (MSI), an initiative by Monster India in collaboration with Paycheck.in and IIM-Ahmedabad , Indian women earned a median gross hourly salary of Rs 184.8, which is 20% less than men. So with tax rebate for annual income up to 5 lakh, plenty of women will benefit since on a nine-hour work day basis, the above translates to a salary of less than Rs 5 lakh.

Schemes such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ and the ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ have been targeted at women voters over the last three years, officials said that nearly 90% of the budget allocation for the ministry this time is expected to be committed to ‘Anganwadi’ schemes and ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), which was launched last year.

Missed Areas in Budget 2019

Kajal Malik, cofounder Reculta, says, "The interim budget disappointed the startups on a few fronts as well. There are still gaps in the system which makes it difficult for women-led startups to access funds or credit. Banks are still not ready to give larger collateral-free loans to women looking to start up or grow their own businesses."

Also, the loans provided under MUDRA scheme to women entrepreneurs are quite small and often inadequate to set up certain kinds of capital-intensive businesses which can be scaled-up meaningfully or which can provide employment to large numbers.