The government has proposed incentives to include more women in the formal economy, even as the participation of women in India’s workforce continues to decline.
In the 2018-19 Union budget presented on Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will amend the Employees Provident Fund Act to reduce the provident fund contribution of women employees to 8% from existing 12%, with no change in employer’s contribution. This move is aimed at encouraging companies to hire more women and would also aid women employees in getting a higher take-home pay.
Jaitley made the announcement while presenting the the fifth budget of the Narendra Modi led government before the Parliament today.
“Contribution of 8.33% to EPF for new employees by the government for three years and 12% government contribution to EPF in sectors employing large number of people,” Jaitley said.
Women employees’ contribution to EPF to be reduced to 8% from 12% for the first three years, Jaitley further said. He also said that around Rs 70 lakh formal jobs have been created this year.
“The govt allocates Rs 3 lakh crore for lending under Mudra loans in the 2018-19. He says there were 10.38 crore Mudra loans given out in this fiscal, 70% of which went to women,” Jaitley added further.
Earlier it was reported that the government might even give incentives to the women employers.
Currently, the employee provident fund deducts 12 per cent from employee’s salary for provident fund.
The women employer has to contribute around 12 per cent of the employee’s salary for various EPFO schemes.
Jaitley also said that India has now become a $2.5 trillion economy and is expected to register a growth rate of 7.2-7.5 per cent in the second half of the current fiscal and is on way to becoming the 5th largest economy of the world.
While unveiling the Budget 2018-19, he said, India has grown on an average of 7.5 per cent in the first three years of the current government and has become a USD 2.5 trillion economy.
“We hope to grow at 7.2 to 7.5 per cent in the second half of the current fiscal,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha.
India has already become 7th largest economy of the world, he said, adding that it is expected to become 5th largest economy soon.
As per the CSO estimate Indian economy is expected to grow at 6.5 per cent in the current fiscal, ending March 31.