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Special Service

A Salute to Womanhood!

 

Special  Feature

International Women's day

                                                                                              T. Shanmugam*  

 Vidhya AR**

The National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) is mandated to communicate science & technology (S&T) to masses, stimulate scientific and technological temper and coordinate & orchestrate such efforts throughout the country

       If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women said Mahatma Gandhi. Now it's just not nonviolence but it stands true for all the sectors. Women are making wonders across the globe. Women have proved themselves that they are no inferior to man in any aspect.

       The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.

Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres.

 

'Nari shakti' (woman power) was the theme for Republic Day parade this year where President Obama was the chief guest. Women officers also played a leading role in Republic Day parade. Wing Commander Pooja Thakur of the Indian Air Force did India proud as she led the Guard of Honour at Rashtrapati Bhawan during the ceremonial reception for US President Barack Obama. This is the first time a woman officer has led the Guard of Honour for a major visiting dignitary at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

 

Government of India has been taking a lot of steps towards the welfare of women. Recently, Government has introduced a new scheme called Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, which will help in generating awareness and improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women. Launching the scheme Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said, we have no right to call ourselves 21st century citizens as long as we have an 18th century mindset. He called for an end to the discrimination between sons and daughters, saying this was the key to ending female foeticide.  This scheme will be implemented nationwide through campaigning in 100 selected districts in the country including Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. All the States and Union Territories will also be joining the initiative of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao(BBBP)”.

 

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi also launched small savings instrument for girl child “Sukanya Samriddhi Account” as part of  Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme. Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened in the name of a girl child any time from her birth till she attains the age of 10 years with a minimum deposit of Rs. 1000 and thereafter any amount in multiple of Rs. 100 can be deposited.The account holder girl child will be able to operate the account herself on attaining the age of 10 years.  The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of opening of account or marriage of the girl child after attaining 18 years of age whichever is earlier. 

 

Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) established by the Union Government aims to undertake activities for the promotion of  credit as an instrument of socio-economic change and development through the provision of  package of financial and social development services,  participatory approaches for effective utilization of credit resources leading to self-reliance, to promote and support experiments in the voluntary and formal sector using innovative methodologies,  to promote research, study, documentation, shaping  and exchange of experience.

 

The important schemes & other activities of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) are Loan Promotion Scheme, Main Loan Scheme, Gold Credit Scheme, Housing Loan Scheme, Working Capital Term Loan Scheme, Franchisee Scheme, Re-Finance to Urban Cooperative Banks/ Mahila Cooperative Banks, Nodal Agency Scheme, Awareness Generation, Capacity Building & Skill Upgradation , Marketing Linkages , Entrepreneurship Development.   

 

The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body to review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women; recommend remedial legislative measures; facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

 

In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment during the year under report. It received a large number of complaints and acted suo-moto in several cases to provide speedy justice.  It takes up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes,  Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats and reviewed laws such as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, National Commission for Women Act, 1990 etc to make them more stringent and effective. The commission has various cells including Complaints and Counseling Cell, Legal Cell, Research and Studies Cell, Public Relations Cell, RTI Cell and NRI Cell.

 

The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) was launched by the Government of India(GoI) on International Women’s Day in 2010.  It aims to strengthen the processes which promote holistic development and empowerment of women, gender equality and gender justice through inter-sectoral convergence of programmes that impact women, forge synergy among various stakeholders and create an enabling environment conducive to social change.

 

The Government has rolled out a Community based management programme for Pregnant & Lactating (P&L) Mothers and malnourished children under 6 years across the country under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

 

SnehaShivir has been introduced in 200 high burden districts of the country and is to be serviced through an Additional Anganwadi Worker/ Nutrition Counsellor at the Anganwadi Centre. The concept of SnehaShivirs is based on the premise that some children thrive better than others because their care givers follow some positive care practices. These Care behaviors are intrinsically linked and include infant and young child feeding, health, hygiene, psycho social care and care for girls and women.

 

The Central Government has been emphasising upon the need to impart training to First Class Judicial Magistrates/Metropolitan Magistrates to deal with cases under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005 through National/State Judicial Academies. The PWDVA requires the appointment of Protection Officers, registration of Service Providers and notification of shelter homes and medical facilities. A total no. of 3145 protection officers has been appointed by the States/UTs under the Act including Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana, Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi have appointed Protection Officers with independent Charge.

 

Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) is being implementing in 53 pilot districts, under which cash benefit of Rupees six thousand per beneficiary is provided to pregnant and lactating woman.

 

Ending gender based inequities is of utmost priority for the Government. The Government of India has already enacted a number of legislations to address gender based discrimination. These include the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986; the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA), Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and 73rd - 74th Amendment of the Constitution mandating 33% reservation for women in the local governance. Further, to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR), the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) programme has been initiated with the objectives to empowering the girl child and enabling her education through a mass campaign and focussed intervention in 100 critical districts low CSR.

 

                                      From Kalpana Chawla to Mary Kom every woman is a jewel who beautifies the world.   It's our responsibility to nurture every girl child who will bring home laurels.

 

***

  *Media and Communications Officer, PIB, Chennai                                                                                                           **Information Asst, PIB, Chennai

 
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