Muhammad Faheem

A study of allocation of the development budget meant for women had shown that over 20 percent of five years allocation remained unspent.

The study said that Rs 42.7 billion were allocated for the women development from over five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21, which was later reduced to Rs 33.9 billion.

The report which has been prepared by the Oxfam and Feminist Friday has analyzed the women related allocations for four provinces and federal budget and utilization of allocated funds.

Besides, the study said that KP government allocated Rs 7.18 billion for 64 projects for women development in 2016-17, which was increased to Rs 7.53 billion by the end of fiscal year.

The women budget also witnessed increase in 2017-18, wherein Rs 7.55 billion were allocated 59 projects; however, in the revised estimates this allocation was curtailed by 46 percent to 2.95 billion.

Similarly, in 2018-19, KP government allocated Rs 8.8 billion for 51 women projects; however, only Rs 7.9 billion was utilized.

In 2019-20, KP government allocated Rs 12.15 billion for women development for 90 projects; however, in the revised estimates this was curtailed by 22 percent to Rs 9.49 billion.

Besides, in 2020-21, KP government allocated Rs 9.73 billion for women development projects; however, only Rs 6.9 billion was spent.

Tahira Kaleem, a social activist and Feminist Friday’s member said that their study was first of its kind. “Mostly government and other people focused on next year budget; however, our study  has taken stock of the situation at the end of fiscal year, which offers good insights for policy makers,” she said.

She said that non-governmental organizations push government to make allocations around budget; however, no one pays attention to how much of this allocation is actually spent.

“These funds are illegally transferred to other projects and even assembly is not asked about them,” she said.

The study showed that center and four provinces have cut the women related budget to the tune of Rs 33.21 billion over past five years. Center topped the list with the highest cut of Rs 14.4 billion on women budget while KP stood second with Rs 8.74 billion.

Similarly, Sind cut this allocation by Rs 4.7 billion while Punjab Rs 3.86 billion and Balochistan Rs 2.48 billion.

Aziz Buneri, a Peshawar based journalist said that there was always a difference between the allocation and spending. Mr Buneri said that provincial government’s gender centric allocations were only limited to allocations.

“We usually allocations for males including those for school, scholarships, business and loans, which usually go up every year,” he said

Mr Buneri said that women and other marginalized groups including physical disabilities and religious minorities were not usually high on government’s priority list.

Similarly, transgender who were the most oppressed of the sexes were not allocated any amount at all.

“Government is always interested in brick and mortar project of roads, streets and similar projects which can bring political capital for them,” he said.

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