Important Topics: Women’s Empowerment - The Government Perspective

http://www.iasplanner.com/civilservices/images/Women-Empowerment.jpgWomen’s empowerment is a complex issue and it is an enabling process which will only be achieved when an improvement in the condition of women in terms of health, education, safety and security (including social security, financial security etc.) is achieved.

HEALTH


A formidable task for the Indian government is to provide quality and affordable health care to the poor and underprivileged, which must be easily accessible also. Since 2005, National Rural Health Mission (now renamed as National Health Mission) has led to the improvement of health care services at different levels in rural areas.

Maternal under-nutrition is a major challenge in India with more than one third having low BMI (body mass index). Every third Indian women is undernourished and every second is anemic due to malnutrition. To address these issues of maternal and child, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme has been universalized and strengthened. For provision of maternal and child health services, Village Health and Nutrition Days are being conducted in the rural areas.

To accelerate the pace of reduction of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), several interventions have been made by the government. Few of them are :

Sr. No. Scheme Name Remarks
1. Janani Suraksha Yojana Promotion of institutional deliveries.
2. Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (jssk) Absolutely free and no expense delivery including caesarean section
3. Mother and Child Protection Card To monitor service delivery for mothers and children
4. Mother and Child Tracking System To ensure antenatal, intra-natal and postnatal care along with immunization services.
5. Maternal Death Reviews (MDR) To take corrective action at a level to improve the obstetric care quality.

The draft of National Health Policy 2015 addresses women’s health needs in terms of meeting the specific needs of reproductive and child health. The need to increase male sterilization and contraceptive utilization is also mentioned.

EDUCATION


Many programmes are being implemented by the government in the fields of elementary, secondary, higher and technical education. Some are as follows :

Sr. No. Schemes Name / Acts Remarks
1. Right to Education (RTE) act, 2009 to make free and compulsory elementary education a right for all children
2. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) To universalize access to education at primary
3. Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat A sub-programme to SSA, it ensures that the learning levels of class I and II students in reading, writing and mathematics is at par with the world.
4. Vidyanjali (school volunteer programme) Under SSA, to enhance community and private sector involvement in govt. run elementary schools across the country.
5. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan(RMSA) To enhance access to secondary education for all children 14-18 years and to improve the quality of education.
6. Udaan (by CBSE) for girl students mentoring and scholarship scheme to enhance the enrolment ratio in engineering college and teaching-learning of science and mathematics at senior secondary level by providing free online resources for all.
7. Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan(RUSA) For the holistic development of higher education.
8. Pradhan Mantri Vidya Lakshmi Karyakram A single window To provide educational loans for the students seeking higher education. (launching of a web-based portal named vidya lakshmi www.vidyalakshmi.co.in )
  • Girls will emerge as Gender Champions in colleges across the country.

SAFETY AND SECURITY


Ensuring gender equality, and combating discrimination and violence against women are integral to our national pursuit of forging inclusive society and development. Some of the recent enabling legislations to address gender based violence to provide safe environment for women to work and live and fulfill their potential are, for example.

a. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act,2013- enacted to make the punishment more stringent for offences like rape and have broadened the definition of sexual assault and harassment.
b. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,Prohibition and Redressal) Act,2013- aims to provide a safe and secured environment for women to work.
c. The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 – for protection of the rights of the women who are the victims of violence of any kind within the family.
d. The Protection Of Child Marriage Act, 2006- for prohibition of solemnisation of child marriages.
e. The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012- to protect children from offences of sexual assault.
f. The Pre-Conception And Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNDT), 1994- for prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
g. The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2015- to provide for proper care, [rotection and treatment to the child by adopting a children friendly approach.
h. The Maternity Benefit Amendment Bill, 2016- increased the maternity leave period from 12 to 26 weeks
i. Nirbhaya Fund- women’s safety and prevention, protection and rehabilitation under which one stop centres are giving medical aid, police assistance, legal and psycho-social counseling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence.
j. Women Helpline for providing 24 hour emergency response and National Emergency Response System are also operating and so on.
k. The multi-sectoral, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative aims at bright future and welfare of the girl child.
l. To increase the visibility of women in the police force, 33% reservation has been made for women in the police force, in UTs and some states.

FINANCIAL SECURITY


a. MGNREG scheme and NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission) - provides livelihood security and economic security simultaneously.
b. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) - mainstreaming women in the economy, providing funds and facilitating market linkages. To promote SHGs Mahila E-Haat has been launched.
c. PM Jan Dhan Yojana - financial inclusion has given the lost confidence back and a breakthrough to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty.
d. PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana - to help them securing a decent employment to move out of poverty.
e. Sukanya Smriddhi Yojana - a saving svheme to secure the financial future of the girl child.

CONCLUSION: The National Policy For Women gave importance to seven key areas including health, education, economy, governance and decision-making, violence against women, housing infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, mass media and sports, social security and support, etc. With the SDGs in place, it would be critical in realizing the objectives of a truly inclusive, equitable, people-centred, and transformative post-2015 development agenda with a gender perspective.


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