Gender inequality and women empowerment are not goals you achieve in a day. Every year, developing nations like India put in efforts on all fronts to bridge the gender gap. Often, we might fall short of achieving our goals in a particular year, but with every new year comes a fresh chance at doing better. In 2022, Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman published the nations 17th gender budget, which allocated a whopping ₹1,53,326.28 crore to shift the nations focus to women-led development.The budget introduced some new schemes and shone light on existing one benefitting women. However, the overall gender budget had decreased from 0.71 per cent of the GDP of revised estimates for 2021-2022 to 0.66 per cent of the budget estimate in the current financial year. While this reduction might appear miniscule, it can mean a huge setback for women who are still emerging from the crushing effects of COVID-19.So, while the gender budget of 2022-2023 promised a lot, there are definite rooms for improvement in 2023. Heres a closer look at some of the new women-centric schemes introduced in the budget that deserve closer attention and dedication in 2023.Saksham AnganwadiLaunched in 1975, Indias Anganwadi system employs 1.4 million women, especially in rural areas. The budget dedicated a combined sum of ₹20,263 crore to the newly launched Saksham Anganwadi and POSHAN 2.0 programmeswhich was a small increase from ₹20,105 in 2021-2022. The purpose of the Saksham Anganwadi programme is to upgrade two lakh anganwadis so that their women-led workforce is empowered with better infrastructure and audio-visual aids, powered by clean energy and providing a better environment for early child development. In 2023, this scheme is likely to continue to benefit Anganwadi women as well as children in rural India.Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS)The MNREGS is a pre-existing scheme that constitutes a very large number of women beneficiaries. The scheme aims at enhancing livelihood security by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household, especially for women. In the 2022-2023 budget, the allocation to MNREGS was reduced by a whopping 20 per cent. In the wake of the pandemic, this reduction has been interpreted by many experts to have brutal impacts on rural womens livelihood. In 2023, especially in the fiscal budget of 2023-2024, experts hope that this deficit will be overcome to the benefit of women.Jal Jeevan MissionIn case you didnt know, India is facing a huge water crisis, and the burden of it largely falls on women and girls to the detriment of their future. To know more about this crisis, take a look at our documentary on the water crisis and its impact on women. https://www.hercircle.in/exclusive/theme/spotlight/her-burden-women-and-indias-water-crisis-2951.html The government launched the Jal Jeevan Mission to lessen this burden by providing potable tap water to every rural household of the country by 2024. In the 2022-2023 budget, the government allotted ₹60,000 crore under this scheme to provide tap water to 3.8 crore households. This was a budget increase of three times more than the 2021-2022 budget, and is supposed to help with technical support, resource utilisation and streamlined tender processes. While this scheme is likely to benefit women, the impact can be increased in 2023 by highlighting the issue further through campaigns.PM-KISAN and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)Launched in 2016 and 2019 respectively, the PMFBY and PM-KISAN schemes are basically for the benefit of farmers of India. Given that mot farmers in India are women, the schemes are supposed to benefit them the most. Under the PM-KISAN scheme, the government released ₹1.82 lakh crores to more than 11.74 crore farmers in January 2022, while more than ₹2 lakh crores was released to more than 11 crore eligible farmers by December 2022. The government also revealed that under the PMFBY, the total sum of ₹1,28,522 crore was sanctioned to 12.24 crore (provisional) farmers till December 2022. These sums are truly impactful, but proper steps should be taken in 2023 to ensure that women farmers are able to access these schemes with more ease.Existing Entrepreneurial Schemes That Should Be HighlightedWhile India is hosting the 2023 G20 Summit, to be held in New Delhi in September, the fact is that the summit will focus on one of the key areas of work, globallywhich is womens entrepreneurship. Providing financial assistance to women entrepreneurs is something all G20 nations are focusing on, and India needs to increase its efforts in this direction. There are a number of schemes that India has already put in place, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), Startup India and Stand-Up India schemes. In 2023, the nation, the government and every citizen should do their part to improve the implementation of these schemes manifold to benefit every woman entrepreneur with potential.