In the last 65 years of Indian independence, not a single rupee has been allocated for male-specific welfare schemes. Not a single scheme has been even identified that is targeted towards male welfare.
Also, it’s been a trend that every year the gender budgeting increases. Now, there are some questions to be raised, but before that, let’s have a look at this year’s numbers for the Gender Budget.
In the budget for the year 2013-14, the finance minister P. Chidambaram announced various sops for women. These are:
1. He announced a Nirbhaya fund of Rs. 1000 crore for the safety and empowerment of women.
2. He announced that all-women public sector banks will be opened in the country. Such banks will be only for women and operated only by the women. The idea behind is to give easy credit to women entrepreneurs, women self-help groups.
3. He also announced that now NRI women can bring duty free gold jewelry worth one lakh into the country. Earlier this limit was Rs. 20,000. For men, the limit of Rs. 10,000 has been increased to Rs. 50,000.
4. He allocated Rs. 97,134 crore for programmes related to women.
5. He allocated Rs. 100 crores for creating Women's Self Help Groups (SHG) Development Fund with NABARD to promote Women's SHG in backward areas of the country.
This is just a glimpse of gender discriminatory budget allocation. There are many other minor schemes which discriminate against men in the name of Women Empowerment.
So, before we move on, here are some questions:
1. Why do we need a special budget for women?
2. Why can’t we have a gender neutral budget?
3. Who pays for these ‘special allocations’?
4. Is the money really spent on the purposes mentioned?
5. Who accounts for the allocation and takes steps to prevent the misuse of funds?
6. Why are men being left out of “Gender Budgeting”?
7. Is male not a gender?
8. Why are boys left out and only girls empowered?
These and many other questions will remain unanswered till we don’t put them across to the society, government and the political class.
Politicians are siphoning off lakhs of crores of rupees in the name of Gender Budgeting at the expense of the benevolent tax payer, 82% of which comprises men. Hence, even in budgeting, the entire male clan is being forced to act as a General Protector of the female clan. And in return, what it gets is more and more draconian, unconstitutional and gender biased anti-male laws.
At every instance in life, men face struggle. The struggle of the male gender starts at an early age, wherein boys are groomed to become protectors and providers and are encouraged to make sacrifices for others.
They are made to sacrifice their own personal likes and interests, their emotions are castrated and they are made to think that they are good humans only when they respect women unconditionally. Even, when a woman gets abusive towards a man, a man is told to respect her because she is a woman.
Such social mindsets are dangerous as they incite feelings of being discriminated against, inside men. Men feel as if it is something wrong to be a man and they need to:
1. Prove their manhood constantly.
2. Pay the price for being a man.
3. Suppress their emotions.
4. Consider it unmanly to talk about their rights.
5. Take responsibility for all women.
6. Judge other men.
7. Fix other men.
8. Discriminate against other men.
9. Hail anti-male measures as progressive.
10. Be apologetic for being a man.
Added to this, when gender specific budget sops are released every year, these feelings in men get aggravated and this seriously harms the emotional health of men. It also means that men cannot fully reap the benefits of their hard work. These emotional states are detrimental and are largely responsible for more men committing suicides and more men resorting to crime. This is because society does not create automatic structures for men. Men need to fend for themselves on their own and at the same time they need to keep paying the price for being a man.
This makes the life of a man very tough and many a weak men who cannot take the daily abuse, either commit suicide or resort to crime. Further, ironically, these same funds are used to create more and more anti-laws and procedures that seek to penalize men for being men. So, men become victims of double jeopardy wherein, anti-male social mindset pushes them to crime and then the same mindset punishes them.
This is a vicious circle and it can be broken only by recognizing the rights of men, socially accepting male welfare and embracing men rather than blaming men. Education and awareness need to be spread at all levels and the foremost message that must go is that “Gender includes Men, Gender does not exclude Men”.
1. The Govt. of India must realize that social problems will not be solved by relaxing women at the cost of men, by penalizing men and by ignoring the problems of men.
2. Having a gender neutral budget is a key step towards such a goal.
3. Welfare schemes for the poor must not exclude poor men, so that they can also heave a sigh of relief in order to carry the responsibility of maintaining their families.
4. Schemes for children must be strictly gender neutral and boys should not be subjected to any discrimination whatsoever, not even positive discrimination.
5. Budget must be spared of vote-bank politics.