Budget 2024: Women entrepreneurs advocate inclusive policies, skilling


Women leaders have stated that crucial policy changes are needed in Budget 2024 to promote inclusivity and empowerment of women in India. According to a report by the Hindustan Times (HT), women entrepreneurs are advocating for healthcare, maternity benefits, education, skill training, and inclusive policies.

Increasing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana allowance

The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was launched under the Ministry of Labour and Employment to provide health insurance coverage for families below the poverty line (BPL). Radhika Dalmia, the chairperson of the FICCI Ladies Organisation (Kolkata chapter), has urged increasing the allowance under the RSBY and enhancing education benefits for girls. Strengthening financial inclusion, improving healthcare infrastructure, and prioritising education, particularly for girls, are essential steps for building a more inclusive India.

Mandatory provisions for maternity leave

Saloni Verma, co-founder and chairperson of Sunshine Corporate Creches, spoke on the impact of the Maternity Act 2017, pushing for the mandatory provision of creche services and six months of paid maternity leave for companies with 50 or more employees. Verma proposed introducing financial incentives for smaller companies to support maternity leave salaries and creche services. This move addresses concerns related to the reluctance to hire married young women and the skewed female ratio in many companies.

Skill-training key to empowerment

The founder and CEO of Lovak Capital, Jyoti Bhandari, called for Budget 2024 to prioritise skill training for young women, offering vocational programmes post-class 12. Bhandari urged the fulfilment of promises to economically empower women, advocating for the evolution of "Lakhpati Mahilas" from Women's Self Help Groups. She emphasised the need to support successful women entrepreneurs from these groups by facilitating their transition into larger, value chain-focused producer organisations. Bhandari also stressed focusing on the role of women in agriculture and exploring their potential contributions to various non-farm sectors, aligning with India's goal of becoming a global economic force.

Incentivise green initiatives

Zaiba Sarang, Co-founder of iThink Logistics, told India.com that a greater focus on sustained investment was needed when it came to multi-modal infrastructure development. Sarang emphasised the need for investment in freight corridors, inland waterways, and intelligent logistics parks that could reduce costs and enhance efficiency. Sarang also added that green initiatives, including electric vehicles, green warehousing, and renewable energy adoption, were necessary to reduce carbon footprint.

Formalise women's labour in agriculture

Addressing the informal sector, Dhanashree Mandhani, founder & CEO at Salam Kisan, told India.com that the government prioritises women farmers and labourers in the upcoming Budget. This would create inclusivity and bring recognition to women participation in the agricultural sector.

Mandhani also added that incentives must be provided to encourage technology adoption through policy and subsidies in the agriculture sector.

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