This Is How Modi’s Budget Will Really Help Women
Let’s be straight: Modi and his administration embarrassed themselves and our nation with a paltry commitment to women’s safety in their budget this year. As many media outlets have discussed, our politicians dedicated more money to a single statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai in Gujarat than to addressing all the women’s safety issues across India. Seems like some priority shuffling may be in order.
Despite this disaster, there was one part of the budget that will make a huge positive impact in the lives of women. As part of an extensive financial inclusion plan, the government will provide two bank accounts to every household in the country by 2018, with the first 15 crore rolled out in the next one year. Individual bank accounts will be given to both the husband and the wife.
Why does this excite us, you ask? Because when women have more control of their money, they also have more control over other important elements of their lives, for example:
- Personal resource allocations—specifically their ability to own, use, and dispose of material assets (like property)
- Decision making over family formation—like when and whom to marry, when and how many children to have, and if/when to leave a marriage
- Society and policy—through financial support for the issues and politicians that will positively impact their lives
Moreover, study after study shows that when income and assets are in the hands of women, as opposed to men, the whole family wins. For instance, women dedicate a larger portion of money to household nutrients, and their children thus develop to be much healthier (Source). When 1.3 million children die every year due to malnutrition, that’s a pretty important side effect.
Modi is expected to unveil his financial inclusion plan in detail on August 15th, Independence day. So, for the next three weeks, why don’t we all send Modi a tweet—@narendramodi and add #badalja—reminding him how important it is to stick to the promise he has made in his budget. Let’s ensure our PM uses this Independence Day to commit our country to the financial independence of women.