The BJP's 2019 Manifesto on Women's Empowerment

India is moments away from Phase 1 of the General Elections, and the BJP finally disclosed its 43-page manifesto. This year, the ruling party reserved a significant amount of space to outline their vision for Indian women. It’s already caused quite a stir thanks to the blooper on page 32.

To start with, the BJP claims it will increase childcare facilities three fold for working mothers. In an attempt to encourage more female participation in the workforce, they hope to cover ASHA and Anganwadi workers with insurance, source from MSMEs that have at least 50% female employees, and give pace to female entrepreneurs, self-help groups and female farmers by ensuring better access to resources.

There’s also a point on sports schemes and reproductive and menstrual health services, including the provision of sanitary pads at Re 1. This comes as a welcome surprise after the government attempted to tax the essential commodity at 12% under India’s GST back in 2017.

Another facet that seems almost too good to be true, is the BJP’s stance on reservation for women, citing 33% reservation in parliament and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment. If they’re genuinely serious about this one, it could change the nation’s entire political landscape.

Overall, their manifesto is stocked with winsome clichés and proposals to lure the country’s female voters. Manifestos very rarely turn out to be something more concrete than a barely read, barely implemented mandate, and unless there’s hard data to back up a party’s claims or promises, they're relatively easy to dismiss.

Sanchita Sivaraman