The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) hosted a workshop to sensitize men and women working in the university about gender mainstreaming. Officials from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) conducted the workshop mainly to disseminate the nuances of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) and expose its advantages amongst the participants. The purpose of this workshop was to create awareness amongst the decision making personnel of IGNOU regarding mainstreaming of women by using Gender Budgeting (GB) as a tool. The workshop was followed by three technical sessions hosted by Dr. Paramita Majumdar (MWCD), Prof. Asha Kapur Mehta, IIPA, New Delhi and Dr. Swapna Bisht, trainer, GB in the presence of Pro VC Prof. Parveen Sinclair and Prof. P.R. Ramanujam. Describing the concept of GB, Dr. Vinita Agarwal, Director, Gender Budgeting, MWCD said “GB is a tool to translate gender commitments into budgetary commitments. The national budget impacts women lives in many ways. It can, for example, directly promote women's development when funds are allocated for programmes that address women's economic, social and other needs. This can be done both through funding of mainstreaming projects that are delivered in a way that is sensitive to women's situation and through funding of women targeted schemes”. The Ministry of Finance recognized the potential for gender budgeting and mandated all the ministries to establish Gender Budgeting Cells (GBCs) by January 2005 and asked 18 ministries and departments to submit a report highlighting budgetary allocations for women. “In the ninth plan, the government made a commitment of allocating 30% of its budget for women development schemes through women's component plan within each department. The preliminary study of the budget of government of India 2000-01 shows that only six of 45 ministries actually have schemes exclusively aimed at women and the budgets that directly focus on women constitute only one per cent of the total budget. So it is important to bring awareness among all stakeholders to accelerate the process by operationalizing gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting,” said Dr. Paramita Majumdar, MWCD.
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