Kerala, a state which stands a class apart from other states with remarkable achievements in terms of social indicators of health and education, and has set example to other states within India, as well as, globally. There have been several initiatives to internalize the concept of gender in the overall approach for planning and budgeting. In spite of such notable achievements and pro gender schemes there hasn’t been any significant impact on the status of women of the state. It was in this context that a deliberate attempt was made to incorporate the gender perspective into the process of democratic decentralization. The genesis of Gender Budgeting in Kerala can be traced to the People’s Plan Campaign (1995- 96) whereby each Panchayat was supposed to prepare one chapter on the status of women. Over the years, this process has helped the local governments to understand specific issues of women through status study of women and then reflect some of these needs in the planning process. The State introduced Women’s Component Plan (WCP) at the Local Self Government (LSG) level. In 1996-97, it was instructed that 10 percent of Plan outlays for all departments should be earmarked for women-specific projects.
However, it was reported in several studies and reviews of the WCP of the previous years that it mostly dealt with practical gender needs while strategic gender needs were not addressed. In fact, in a micro level system analysis study, it was found that in the overall planning system, the institutional set-up as well as implementation was not gender sensitive. The governance system was also found to be lacking gender sensitivity. Owing to such shortcomings, Institute of Management in Government, submitted a proposal to Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, to conduct an Action Research in one Grama Panchayat to improve the efficiency of stakeholders both officials and elected representatives by giving adequate hand holding support in various projects through a study of situational analysis. The required support will be provided specifically in project Identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Gender Development Programmes through Women Component Plan. And a situation analysis was proposed in three other Panchayats to identify the reasons for poor performance of WCP and its implementation in these Panchayats.