A roadmap for closing gender gaps in Bihar: Gender Responsive Budgeting

With the first documented Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) intervention in the 1980s, GRB today is recognised globally as a promising framework for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).

By mainstreaming gender in public planning and budgeting processes and mechanisms, GRB paves the way for equitable and inclusive development. With India having introduced GRB efforts at the union level in the 2000s, the Indian states/union territories have followed sooner or later. In this paper, we document and scrutinise GRB processes and mechanisms in Bihar – a state that has recorded a steady and high growth in its Gross Domestic Product over the past decade and has narrowed gaps in some gender development indicators, while lagging behind in others.

We look at the state’s key policy level commitments on GRB and examine what are the existing GRB processes and mechanisms to achieve these commitments. We assess priority accorded to gender in the state’s budgets, draw linear correlations between gender budgets and major fiscal attributes, and present illustrative gender outputs against gender budgets.

Based on our scrutiny of what exists currently, we propose an illustrative GRB architecture to be made operational through a roadmap with key milestones for the state to effectively pursue and achieve its GRB policy commitments in the future.