Bring gender-responsive budget: HoR panel

Kathmandu, May 26

The Women and Social Development Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the federal and provincial governments to bring gender-responsible budget for the fiscal 2020-21 in the wake of adverse situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairperson of the parliamentary panel Niru Devi Pal said the committee decided to direct the federal and provincial governments to put gender rights at the heart of the new fiscal budget after holding discussion with member of the National Planning Commission Min Bahadur Shahi and thematic experts Khimlal Devkota and Dhruba Prasad Dahal recently.

A four-point decision published by the committee states that gender-responsive budget is the foundation of overall development of a least developed country. “Gender-responsive budget envisions equality and has become more important than before in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit women the most. Therefore, the committee directs the federal and provincial governments to accord high priority to the concept of gender-responsive budget from policy and practical perspective,” read the decision.

It said the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and NPC had greater role to realise the gender-responsive budget. The committee also directed the MoWCSC to coordinate with the federal and provincial governments to ensure that the new fiscal budget addresses the problems facing women and economically disadvantaged groups.

It has also directed the federal and provincial governments to strengthen the practice of gender-responsive budget, pursue periodic reforms in macroeconomic policy, conduct gender audit in budget implementation, and attach importance to social and gender sectors while conducting annual and four-monthly review of the budget.

Similarly, the committee has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs not to discontinue the social security allowance being enjoyed by blue card holding differently-abled persons and single women below 60 years of age amid criticism from all quarters.

The Department of National ID and Civil Registration under the MoHA had recently issued a circular to all local levels to implement the new amendments made in laws related to social security allowance with effect from the final four-monthly tranche of the current fiscal.

“The decision to discontinue the social security allowance will only worsen the situation of persons who depend on this facility to support their medical expenses. More so, it is very essential to keep up with the support during the COVID-19 pandemic,” read the decision.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 27, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.