One of the pathways on the country's transformative journey announced in Budget 2018-2019 is the enhancement of the role and participation of women in the country's development and strengthening support to the elderly.
Measures announced with regards to gender equality comprise the introduction of a Gender Equality Bill to set a strong and comprehensive legal framework for gender mainstreaming, , a study to be carried out on the introduction of gender-based budgeting, and a chapter on gender mainstreaming in the 3 Year Rolling Strategic Plan. Ministries and public-sector institutions will also be required to publish a Gender Policy Statement in their annual report.
The Budget further makes provision for the training of some 250 government officials across all ministries and departments to deal with gender issues as well as the allocation of Rs 200,000 to each Ministry to promote sensitisation and awareness programmes, and implement activities on gender mainstreaming. Each Ministry will also be required to have a Gender Cell that will encourage greater gender balance in the decision-making process and serve as a platform for dialogue on gender equality issues.
Furthermore, the Employment Rights Act will be amended to allow payment of a remuneration for those mothers reckoning less than 12 months service during their 14 weeks of maternity leave. The current one-off grant under the Crèche Scheme has been increased from Rs 200,000 to Rs 500,000 so as to promote investment in crèches and companies that invest in a crèche will benefit from a double deduction under corporate tax. This budget measure has been announced in a view to enable more women to join the workforce.
Support to the Elderly
With regards to support to the elderly, Budget 2018-2019 makes provision for two elderly day care centres at Bambous and Chemin Grenier and specialised training for a first batch of 50 carers with the collaboration of the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development. It also provides for the increase of the monthly grant from Rs 6,071 to Rs 8,500 for employees of residential care homes and institutions that are caring mostly for the elders with disabilities.
It is also recalled that between December 2014 and December 2017, the monthly Basic Retirement Pension (BRP) has been increased from Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,450. In January 2018, it has further been increased to Rs 5,810. Since December 2014 to date the BRP has thus gone up by more than 65 percent.