Are water and sanitation policies in India gender responsive?

Is gender taken into consideration when budgeting, planning and implementing water and sanitation policies in India?

The paper “Gender Responsive Budget Analysis in Water and Sanitation: A Study of Two Resettlement Colonies (Jhuggi Jhopri Clusters) in Delhi” presented by Gyana Ranjan Panda (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability) at the GDN 13th Annual Conference is an attempt to study the Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in the field of urban water and sanitation in Delhi region, with a focus on two resettlement colonies (Bawana and Bhalaswa) as primary areas of inquiry. The paper aims to ascertain the hypothesis that budgeting and planning significantly and disproportionately impact the lives of women and girls.

The study finds that various policies and schemes pertaining to urban water and sanitation in India can be categorised as ‘gender blind’ since these do not recognise the gender-based disadvantages in accessing safe water supply and sanitation, sewerage and drainage. The paper also confirms that   the overall budgetary allocation for water and sanitation in the resettlement colonies and for Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clusters (slums) is grossly inadequate and in sync with neither the needs nor the effective level of service delivery. Confusion and lack of effective collaboration and consultation among various implementing agencies remain part of the problem.

The paper ends with a few recommendations, among which: recognising water and sanitation as an important sector in Gender Budgeting discourse in India; prioritizing water and sanitation in slums through local development funds; and mainstream concerns of slums’ people in slums planning, budgeting and delivery of services.

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