(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Inclusive development and rural women
Inclusive development and rural women
- Inclusive development is multifaceted and can be achieved through growth with equity – social, economic and political. There is no automatic mechanism to achieve inclusive growth rather it can only be attained through suitable policy formulation, proactive intervention, effective policy implementation and people’s participation in the governance process.
- Rural development aims at improving rural people’s livelihoods in an equitable and sustainable manner, both socially and environmentally, through better access to assets (natural, physical, human, technological and social capital) and services, and control over productive capital.
- Sustainable rural development refers to improving the quality of life for the rural poor by developing capacities that promote community participation, health and education, food security, environmental protection and sustainable economic growth thereby enabling community members to leave the cycle of poverty and achieve their full potential. Sustainable rural development is vital to the economic, social and environmental viability of nations.
- A healthy and dynamic agricultural sector is an important foundation of rural development, generating strong linkages to other economic sectors.
Government Empowerment Programmes for Rural Women:
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP):
- BBBP, the flagship scheme, was launched initially to address the declining Child Sex Ratio but as it graduated, it broadened and took under its ambit other concerns such as strict enforcement of PC-PNDT Act [Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act], provisions to motivate higher education for girls and related issues of disempowerment of women on a lifecycle continuum. Since its inception in 2015, it has been independently growing widely in local domains as well.
- All India expansion of BBBP to cover all 640 districts was launched by the Prime Minister on March 8, 2018 for deeper positive impact on CSR with an outlay of Rs. 1133 crore during 2017–18 to 2019–20 which will include multi sectoral intervention in 244 districts in addition to existing 161, where physical implementation of the scheme will happen while 235 districts will be covered through Alert District Media, Advocacy and Outreach.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMKVY):
- PMKVY is a maternity benefit programme that has been made a pan-India phenomenon since December 31, 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. PMMVY – CAS and its user manual were launched on September 1, 2017. Under PMKVY, Rs. 2016.37 crores to all 36 states/UTs had been sanctioned during 2017–18 with a release of Rs. 1991.72 crores.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
- The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is an effective scheme to aid the poor section of Indian society. The programme is anticipated to be implemented over a period of three years till fiscal 2018-19. The intent of this scheme is to make cooking gas(LPG)available to women from families that are financially backward.
- It is estimated that the Ujjwala Yojana will assist approximately 1 crore 50 lakh households that presently live below the poverty line. The programme is also expected to cover five crore such households in all.
Main objectives of Ujjwala Yojana scheme:
- Enhance the status of women and care for their health.
- Help to decrease air pollution due to use of fossil fuel.
- Lessening the serious health risks related with cooking based on fossil fuels.
- Reducing the number of deaths due to unclean cooking fuels, which is almost 5 lakh every year in India.
- Preventing young children from acute respiratory illness caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuels.
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana (DAY-NRLM):
- Aajeevika is a major project of the Ministry of Rural Development. It focuses on rural women and aims to achieve universal social mobilization by involving rural women. At least one woman member from each identified poor rural household, is to be brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner. NRLM has devised special strategies to reach out to all these vulnerable communities and help them graduate out of poverty.
- There are other two important components of Aajeevika that are relevant for improvement of livelihoods of rural women. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) aims to skill rural youth who are poor and provide them with jobs having regular monthly wages or above the minimum wages.
- It is one of the clusters of initiatives that ensure full social inclusion of the candidates by mandatory coverage of socially disadvantaged groups, where one-third of the persons covered should be women. Mahila KisanSashak tikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) is another component that aims to improve the present status of women in agriculture and enhance the opportunities for empowerment.
Rastriya Mahila Kosh (RMK):
- Rastriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), of Ministry of Women and Child Development, extends micro-credit to the women in the informal sector through a client-friendly, collateral-free and a hassle-free manner for income generation activities. RMK has taken a number of promotional measures to popularise the concept of micro-financing, enterprise development, thrift and credit, formation and strengthening of women SHGs through intermediary organisations.
- Education of credit management has been integrated with the provision of credit, along with literary and skill training for individual women and leadership training among groups for self management.
Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK):
- In order to support rural women and provide them with convergent support, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India approved a new scheme namely Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) as a sub-scheme under the Umbrella Scheme ‘Mission for Protection and Empowerment for Women’ for implementation during 2017–18 upto 2019–20 to empower rural women through community participation.
- MSK Scheme is envisaged to provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for availing their entitled benefits and for empowering them through training and capacity building. Convergent support is being proposed for equal access to healthcare, quality education, career and vocational guidance, employment, health and safety, social security and digital literacy at Gram Panchayats level in selected districts/blocks across the country with a view to create an environment in which women realize their full potential. The scheme is committed to play an important role for empowerment of rural women especially in the most backward 115 districts of the country.
- Community engagement through College Students Volunteers is envisioned in 115 most backward districts as part of the MSK Block level initiatives. Student volunteers will play an instrumental role in awareness generation regarding various important government schemes/programmes as well as social issues and association with NSS/NCC cadre students will also be an option. The scheme at the block level will provide an opportunity to Student Volunteers to participate in the development process by bringing change in their own communities and ensuring that women are not left behind and are equal partners in India’s progress. At the national, state, block level, websites/IT tools will be made available for monitoring and feedback. Web based/online feedback mechanism will be developed for submission of queries and grievance redressal.
National Repository of Information for Women (NARI):
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also prepared a portal namely National Repository of Information for Women (NARI) that will provide citizens easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women. Rural women can access these schemes on their own or with the help of various frontline workers associated with government schemes at the ground level.
- The portal summarises over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added every day. The Portal also provides information to women on issues affecting their lives, for example, there are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check-ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interviews, investment and savings advice, information on crimes against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells and much more.
- All the information on various schemes/programs relevant for women will be updated on a regular basis. This will be used by MSK staff to improve access and utilisation of government schemes by rural women at the ground level.
National Nutrition Mission (NNM):
- To deal with the problem of malnutrition, government has set-up the National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a budget of Rs. 9046 crore.
- 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 three years beginning from 2017–18, with defined targets.
- Some of them are to prevent and reduce stunting in children (0–6 years) by 6percent@ 2 percent p.a., prevent and reduce under-nutrition in children (0–6 years) by 6 per cent @ 2 per cent p.a., reduce the prevalence of Anaemia among young children (6–59 months) by 9 per cent @ 3 per cent p.a.; reduce the prevalence of Anaemia among women and adolescent girls in the age group of 15–49 years by 9 per cent @ 3 per cent p.a.; reduce low birth weight by 6 percent @ 2 per cent p.a.
Swadhar Greh scheme:
- In 2015, Swadhar Greh scheme was launched to cater to primary needs of women in difficult circumstances.
- Women are provided with shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment and care are exclusively provided, meanwhile, legal guidance is also given to enable their readjustment in family/society.
- Rehabilitation for their emotional and economic state is rendered to enable them to start life afresh.
- Presently, 561 Swadhar Graeh are functioning in the country benefiting 17,291 women. In addition, a widow home with the capacity of1000 people has been constructed at Sunrakh Bangar, Vrindavan.
Mahila Police Volunteers:
- Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) 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 1450 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.
Empowering Elected Women Representative (EWRs):
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched an extensive training programme with an objective of empowering Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and help them assume the leadership roles expected of them and guide their villages for a more prosperous future. Past experience at the grassroots level has led to the realisation that capacity building of EWRs is critical to empower women to participate effectively in governance processes. An empowered EWR can ensure that the same can be translated among women in her community.
- The role of rural women outside the home has become an important feature of the social and economic life of the country and in the years to come it will become still more significant.
- From this point of view, greater attention will have to be paid to the problems of training and development of rural women. The education of rural girls, therefore, should be emphasised not only on grounds of social justice, but also because it accelerates social transformation.
- In addition, the government programs promoting women education and skill development should be pursued more vigorously. It is a challenging task and it requires multipronged efforts. With a strong determination, commitment and involvement of people and organizations with philanthropic motive and a rational outlook, this problem can be solved and hurdles be overcome for promoting empowerment of rural women.
- Thus, the road to inclusive development cannot be travelled without the health, education and empowerment of women who form almost 50 per cent of the Indian population. A multi-directional organised approach to their development is sure to take the country way beyond this path. And in India the forces are marching in the right direction to take the nation to new horizons.
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