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Women

  • Job lot

    Job lot

    An employment survey updates some known things and throws up some new ones

  • Only look for answers

    I happened to attend, recently, a jan sunwai peoples court on water, convened by the National Federation of Indian Women. Women came from over 15 states to report on the state of their water.

  • Budget to focus on women, farmers

    THE upcoming Union Budget should have a special focus on women and farmers. This message was conveyed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi while speaking at a function in her constituency, Rae Bareli, on Wednesday, where she expressed certainty that finance minister P Chidambaram would "keep the common man's difficulties, especially faced by women and farmers, in mind while preparing the budget'. Speaking at a Bank of Baroda function to launch the 1,000th self-help group, Ms Gandhi was also quoted by agencies as saying that while 8-9% economic growth was not a mean achievement, real happiness would come when the common man's difficulties are wiped out. She added that health and education were keys for achieving real happiness. The comments are politically significant as many in the Congress have been saying much the same thing. At a pre-budget meeting with Mr Chidambaram recently, Congress leaders pointed out that 9% growth alone growth was unlikely to pay dividends for the party in an election year. They had asked the FM to focus on the

  • Farm loan waiver tops Budget agenda

    Sonia Nudges Manmohan On Package For Farmers, Women And Tax Breaks Setting the agenda for the government, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has asked it to focus on farm loans, women-related schemes and income tax slabs in the Budget. During three rounds of deliberations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spread over the last week, the UPA chief, sources disclosed, sought to nudge her visitor on what she thinks should be the defining themes of the Budget in an election year. Sonia was keen on a package for farmers and there were already signs to suggest that the PM may have already heeded the advice. Addressing a group of farmers from Punjab asking for debt relief for small and marginal land owners, Singh said, "I would like to assure you that under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, our government will pay attention to the demands listed in the memorandum submitted.' The Congress chief also made no bones of the fact that the package figures on the top of the "to do' list she has framed for the government. "We know farmers are facing difficult times. I hope, I know Manmohan Singh's government will give due attention to your demands,' Sonia said. Sources rated the chances of a waiver, at least on the interest component, for defaulters among small and marginal farmers as a certainty. As reported by TOI on December 31, the package could cover bad and doubtful loans worth at least Rs 30,000 crore. While the PM refused to get into details citing Budget confidentiality, the government's receptivity to suggestions from political leadership should be happy augury for those expecting a relook at income tax slabs. While the government was expected to push up the exemption limit to Rs 1.25 lakh from Rs 1.1 lakh at present, an upward revision in the tax slab was not being hotly pursued by the finance ministry. An increase in the basic slab of 10% from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh would cost the exchequer around Rs 5,000 crore and the tax department brass was not keen on foregoing easy money coming its way. Given the enhanced stakes for the party in wooing urban India, the party leadership is hoping that Sonia's prod might cause them to pull out their calculators once again. Delimitation has increased the number of urban constituencies where tax payers constitute a significant slice of the electorate while Delhi, which boasts of the largest number of salaried tax payers in the country, is scheduled to go to polls later this year. The party expects tax concession to help blunt BJP's attempt to reclaim its constituency among the urban middle class. Apart from the plight of farmers, Sonia has also asked the government to focus on schemes aimed at empowering women. She had made this priority plain while on a visit to her constituency last week, and the preference for "gender justice' was repeated during the interactions with Singh. Sources said that among other things, the Integrated Child Development Scheme was likely to be strengthened. sidhartha.kumar@timesgroup.com diwakar.asthana@timesgroup.com POPULAR TOUCH: Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi with a delegation of farmers from Punjab, in New Delhi on Monday

  • Highlights: Cash surplus at record high

    The Minister for Railways, Mr Lalu Prasad, flanked by the Ministers of State, Mr Naranbhai Rathwa (left), and Mr R.Velu, arriving to present the Rail Budget on Tuesday. Review of Performance: 2007-08

  • MCD allocates Rs 3 cr to construct women's toilets

    The MCD seems to have woken up to a major problem faced by women in the Capital

  • FM raises a toast to women, minorities

    The Union Budget 2008-09 has seen funds for women, minorities and Scheduled Tribes go up substantially. One of the beneficiaries of a 24 per cent rise in allocations for the Ministry of Women and Child Development is a plan to prevent trafficking of girls for which the ministry has chalked out a scheme called Ujjwala. The Budget has kept a provision of Rs 9 crore for the scheme, following sustained campaign by NGOs and international bodies. The ministry's allocation of Rs 7,200 crore for 2008-09 is up from Rs 5,793 crore, the revised estimate for the 2007-08 Budget. A major part of the enhanced allocations would go to Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) that caters to the nutritional and healthcare needs of pre-school children and mothers in rural areas. The ICDS allocation is mainly meant for the hiked emolument for workers and helpers of some 6,284 Anganwadi centres across the country. Another Rs 200 crore has been allocated for a new scheme

  • Women workers still vulnerable to poverty, unemployment: ILO

    Women are in the workplace like never before but they are still more vulnerable than men to unemployment and low-paid jobs, the International Labour Organisation said Friday.

  • Anaemia in adolescent girls reduced by almost 10pc

    The prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls has been reduced from 52.4 per cent in 2004 to 43.5 per cent in 2007, revealed the Helen Keller International at a seminar on Monday.

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