Gross mismatch between budget allocation, implementation in two ministries found
A gross mismatch has been uncovered between the budget allocation for women for science and information technology education and the real scenario at the implementation level, said a study on two ministries' budget analysis of fiscal year (FY) 2011-2012.
The study also showed that most of the women, including entrepreneurs, are deprived of the benefits of various information technology despite their needs of information, mainly due to language barrier and lack of education and awareness.
These were revealed at a press conference on 'Demand for Adequate Allocation for Womens' Science, Information and Information Technology in the Budget' jointly organised by Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) and UN Women on Monday at the National Press Club in the city.
BNPS executive director Rokeya Kabir, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) senior research fellow Dr Protima Paul Majumder, Consultant of the World Bank and eminent economist Dr Kaniz N Siddiqui, BNPS director Omar Tarek Chowdhury, UN Women national programme manager Nahid M Ahmed and UN Women Bangladesh governance coordinator Khadiza Khandker were present on the occasion.
Rokeya Kabir chaired the programme while Omar Tarek read out a written statement on the theme.
The government of Bangladesh in the National Women Development Policy 2011 under the Vision 2021 mentioned information and information technology as the key to establishing digital Bangladesh.
The study was based on these targets for the last three fiscal years in the budget allocation and implementation status of two important ministries which mainly deal with information, science and information technology programmes. Those are Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs and Ministry of Science and Information Technology.
According to the study, in the years 2009-2010, 2010- 2011 and 2011-2012 information ministry got 0.32 per cent, 0.37 per cent and 0.37 per cent and science, information and information technology ministry got 0.37 per cent, 0.38 per cent and 0.37 per cent allocation of the total budget respectively.
Though it was claimed in the gender budget report (GBR) prepared by the Information Ministry that only 10 per cent of the total budget will be spent for women, the same ministry in another GBR said 19 per cent of the total annual development programme budget of the ministry will be spent for women.
The participation of women in the information ministry and its associate bodies was only 14.61 per cent in 2010-2011 whereas the number has slightly increased in 2011-2012.
In the written statement Tarek said there are many small women entrepreneurs in rural areas who could be informed about the profitable market and employment opportunity through information technology. But scarcity of information centres, lack of skills in using information technology, lack of proficiency in language and interruption in power supply deprive them of being benefited.
In the budget of the current fiscal there is gender sensitive programmes like 'Basic IT Skills Transfer Up to Upazila Level' and 'Bangabandhu Fellowship on SICT' where there is no special quota reserved for women thus benefiting the men compared to women from these progarmmes.
Besides, there are more than 160 e-community centres in the country aiming to build digital Bangladesh where one man and one woman operator are supposed to work. But 62.5 per cent grassroots level people do not know about this type of centres as most of the time these centres remain under lock and key.
BNPS placed 19 -point demand for more inclusion of women in science, information and IT sector in the 2012-2013 budget including: adequate budget allocation for skill development of women in science, information and IT sector, introduction of 'cash for training on ICT' similar to the 'cash for education programme', setting up of computer laboratories at rural schools and colleges for computer education of female students by appointing male and female instructors and reducing gap in education, income and technological knowledge between village and city, special programme for higher education for women on vocational and engineering, increased budget allocation for the 'Basic IT Transfer Up to Upazila Level' etc.
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