Economic Survey’s cover Pink for gender issues

New Delhi: The Economic Survey tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament on Monday had a pink cover as it lay “special emphasis” on gender.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance said the survey takes into account that gender equality is an “inherently multi-dimensional issue”.

Assessments have been made based on three dimensions of gender — agency (relates to women’s ability to make decisions on reproduction, spending on themselves, spending on their households etc); attitudes (relate to attitudes about violence against women); and outcomes.

Over the last 10 to 15 years, India’s performance improved on 14 out of 17 indicators of women’s agency, attitudes, and outcomes, according to the key findings of the survey.

The survey noted that gender outcomes exhibit a convergence pattern, improving with wealth to a greater extent in India than in similar countries so that even where it is lagging, it can expect to catch up over time.

The survey, however, cautioned that on several other indicators — notably employment, use of reversible contraception, and son preference — India has some distance to traverse because development has not proved to be an antidote.

It also noted the challenge of gender is “long-standing”.

The survey recommended that India must confront the societal preference for a son.

“The skewed sex ratio in favour of males led to the identification of missing women.

“But there may be a meta-preference manifesting itself in fertility stopping rules contingent on the sex of the last child, which notionally creates unwanted girls, estimated at about 21 million,” added the survey.