New Delhi: 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.

According to the Economic Survey, female labour force participation rate has declined to 24% in 2015-16 from 36% in 2005-06.

Besides this, the budget also increased loans to women self-help groups by 37% and also announced free gas connections to eight crore women under Ujjwala Yojana

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