(The Gist of Kurukshetra) EMPOWERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN
EMPOWERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN INDIA
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has been diligently
working" towards the cause it seeks to address. The conscientious initiatives
undertaken from the year 2014-15 prove this to be a practice rather than a
theory. It has launched and effectively implemented several mammoth initiatives
like BBBP, NNM, PMMVY, SABLA-Universal Scheme for Adolescent Girls, OSCs, MPVs,
POCSO e-Box, Mahila e-Haat. Apart from these, the Ministry has also expedited
the workings of several other schemes such as passage of Maternity Benefit
(Amendment) Act, 2016, Draft Anti-Trafficking Bill, Draft National Policy for
Women2017, Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016,
training of women panchayat heads, Swadhar Greh, Mahila Shakti Kendra. Honest
measures for promoting safety of women and children have been undertaken. The
Ministry has ensured leveraging ICT to ensure transparency and quick delivery of
services as well as preventing leakages. Media, in all its forms, has been put
to its best use to generate awareness, indicating tremendous strides.
Landmark Schemes for Women and Children
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), the flagship scheme was launched initially to
address the declining Child Sex Ratio, as it graduated it broadened and took
under its ambit other concerns such as strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act,
provisions to motivate higher education for girls and related issues of
disempowerment of women on a life-cycle continuum. Since its inception in 2015,
it has been independently growing widely in local domains as well.
To deal with the problem of malnutrition, government has set-up the National
Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a budget of Rs. 9046 Cr. The aim is to achieve an
improvement in the nutritional status of children of 0-6 years and pregnant and
lactating women in a time bound manner, during the coming three years beginning
2017-18, with defined targets. Some of them are to prevent and reduce stunting
in children (0-6 years) by 6% @ 2% pa, prevent and reduce under nutrition in
children (0-6 years) by 6% @ 2% pa, reduce the prevalence of Anemia among young
children (6-59 months) by 9% @ 3% p.a.; reduce the prevalence of Anemia among
women and adolescent girls in the age group of 15-49 years by 9% @ 3% pa; reduce
low birth weight by 6% @ 2% pa. The project has emanated through Information and
Communication Technology enabled real-time-monitoring (ICT-RTM) of ICDS with
customized mobile based application software (ICDSCAS). A total of 70,000+ Smart
Phone devices preinstalled with lCDS-CA5 software application have been provided
to roll-out ICT-RTM in six states with 70,299 trained Anganwadi Workers as
volunteers to help people in their application.
The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit
programme that has been made a pan-India phenomenon since 31st December, 2016.
The beneficiaries would receive cash incentive of Rs 6000/during pregnancy and
after institutional delivery. The scheme implementation guidelines, the software
for its roll out i.e. PMMVYCAS and its user manual were launched on 01.09.2017.
Under PMMVY, Rs. 2016.37 crores to all 36 States/ UTs had been sanctioned during
2017-18 with a release of Rs. 1991.72 crores.
In 2017, government notified Supplementary Nutrition (ICDS) Rules, 2017 to
regulate entitlement of ‘nutrient dense food’ for every pregnant and lactating
woman till 6 months after child birth, and every child in the age group of 6
months to 6 years for 300 days in a year.
Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme was launched in 2017 to address women’s issues at
the rural level wherein over 3 lakh student volunteers would be engaged in 115
most backward districts for three years. These volunteers, mobilised from local
colleges, NCC, N55, NYK etc, will work with local women to help them access
government schemes for their benefit and to provide ‘one stop convergent support
services for their skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and
Mahila Police Volunteers (MMVs) will prove to be an effective alternative
against the local police for women. MPVs were launched in all States and UTs to
serve as a public-police interface and facilitate women in distress. The MPVs
report incidences of domestic violence, child marriage, dowry harassment and
violence faced by women in public spaces. Initiated in 2016, the MPVs is
operational in 5 States.
Mahila e-Haat is an initiative to economically empower women through
financial inclusion. The government launched a bilingual portal Mahila e-Haat, a
direct online digital marketing platform for women entrepreneurs / SHGs / NGOS
in March 2016. it received over 14.50 lakh visitors. Women entrepreneurs / SHGs
/ NGOs from 22 states showcased approximately 1800 products / services. it has
23000 registered SHGs with 3 lakh beneficiaries. In 6 months, women
entrepreneurs / SHGs / NGOs have transacted business of over Rs. 20 lakh.
Passport rules have been amended in favour of single mothers. Now either
mother or father’s name can be provided in application form and applicants do
not have to provide any certificate of marriage / divorce during the
In May 2016, Training for Women Heads of Panchayats, as an initiative was
implemented at lhalawar, Rajasthan where more than 40 elected women
representatives participated in the workshop aiming at empowering and developing
Apart from these developmental schemes for woman and child, the Government
has also undertaken commendable measures to ensure safely of women and children
in public spaces. The Ministry has launched the Scheme of One Stop Centers to
facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical
assistance, police assistance, legal aid/counseling and
psychological-social/counseling, Shelter. For girls under 18 years of age,
institutions established under the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of
children) Act, 2000 and protection of children from sexual offence Act, 2012
will provide guidance.
To enhance the safety and security for women, Nirbhaya Fund has been set up
with a corpus of Rs. 2000 Cr to implement initiatives. Under this, 13 proposals
have been appraised and recommended for Rs. 2177.27 Cr, a focused project for
women’s safety in 8 prominent cities is being prepared, project for Integrated
Emergency Response Management operated by Railways, CCTVs and monitoring rooms
are being installed at 983 major stations to provide 24x7 securities to women at
stations and in trains. New Taxi Policy Guidelines have been put in place with
much improved safety measures for women, a Public Grievance Cell is also active
in the Ministry giving women and children citizens a way to send grievances
directly which has already processed 18,000 complaints in one year since its
inception. Apart from this, a robust online MS has been developed to track
implementation of all the projects under Nirbhaya. The ’Panic Button and Global
Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016’ have been notified and
roll-out in the offing.
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and
Redressal) Act 2013, has seen massive improvement in the recent years after
ensuring the establishment of internal Complaints Committees in all Ministries /
Departments of Government. To help women report incidents of Sexual harassment
at the workplace, an online complaint mechanism , SHe-Box has been established.
Any female employee in the country, whether employed by the government or
private, can file an online complaint of sexual harassment through this portal.
In a first of its kind, Kiosks with Child Helpline have been set up at key 24
railway stations where the identified children are brought for temporary stay
before they are restored to their parents or are sent to children’s home.
Continuous announcements are made for passengers to keep a look-out for such
children. Such assistance has been provided to more than 11,000 children till
POCSO e-Box was launched in August 2016 and is a simple and easy to use
facility for children or any adult to register complaints of child sexual abuse
or harassment. It is a direct online reporting mechanism where each complaint is
handled with sensitivity and anonymity to provide optimum protection. Apart from
this, the government recognized the need to place cradle locations in hospitals,
PHC, etc to save the lives of unwanted new born babies and placing them in the
adoption net managed by CARA with the intent to rehabilitate them in familial
care. In an unprecedented initiative for working women, maternity leave has been
extended to a period of 26 weeks.
In addition to conferring Nari Shakti Puruskar on eminent women,
organisations and institutions rendering distinguished service to women’s cause
especially belonging to the vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society,
’First Ladies’ who have broken the glass ceiling and ventured into unusual
fields, like the first female Merchant Navy Captain, first train driver of
passenger train, first female fire fighter, first female bus driver, first
Indian woman to reach Antarctica among others are being recognized.
The National Policy for Women, 2017 was drafted and is currently under
consideration. The Policy has been prepared keeping in view the socioeconomic
changes that have occurred since the last policy of 2001. Over 15,000
crowd-sourced ideas have been considered as part of the policy formulation
These and many other initiatives by the Ministry of Women and Child
Development, ensure a real time empowerment of the women and children in our
country and thus, very significantly, paves way for a better society. However,
there is a strong need to bring women working as domestic help in metropolis
under any of these schemes.