UPSC Exam Preparation-Gist of Yojana October 2018 Issue: Women Empowerment

UPSC Exam Preparation: Gist of Yojana October 2018 Issue: Women Empowerment

Table of Contents: Women Empowerment

1. Empowering the Nation with Women-Led Development

2. Empowering Women through ‘Continuum of Care’

3. Helping Women Gain Control of their Lives

4. Breaking the Shackles of Financial Deprivation

5. Ensuring Equality for the Minority Women

6. Empowering Tribal Women

7. In Pursuit of Inclusive Growth in India

8. Empowering Women: Legal Provisions

9. Meeting the Challenges of Gender Empowerment

10. Women, Health and Development

11. Communication: Overarching Role in Women Empowerment

 

Chapter 1- Empowering the Nation with Women-Led Development

The recent developments in the area of women empowerment are extremely encouraging.

  • The first female fighter pilots have recently been appointed in the Indian Air Force.
  • The participation of women in combat roles in the Army is also strongly under consideration.
  • The Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and a number of international sporting events including cricket have seen outstanding performances by Indian women.
  • Even India’s successful launch of the Mangalyaan and the record-breaking 104 Nano satellites launched into orbit on board a single rocket had a team of women scientists behind them.
  • India has been successful in achieving gender parity in school education. Even in technical and professional education such as medicine, law IT, engineering, management etc., the representation of women is significantly increasing The literacy rate of women has risen from a mere 9 per cent in 1951 to 65 per cent in 2011.
  • In the workplace today, every fourth worker in India is a woman.
  • One third of all certified engineers are now women and over three fourths of all health workers at primary level are women. It is estimated that almost one-third of all certified medical researchers, banking employees, IT workers and chartered accountants are women.
  • In a country bursting with entrepreneurial spirit, today almost every fifth entrepreneur is a woman. With their increasing participation in a variety of fields, women’s bargaining power in both private and public life is steadily increasing.
  • In politics too, the figures are more encouraging than ever before, elected women representatives now make up about 46 per cent of our Panchayats members. With these 1.3 million+ women in positions of power at the village level, the landscape of our country is changing from ground up.

Women’s financial inclusion has also increased tremendously. On the health front, improvements have been noted with the average life expectancy of women having risen from 31.7 years in 1950-51 to about 70 years in 2016. Institutional births have risen to an all – time high of 79 per cent in 2014-15. The maternal mortality rate has dropped by half in the decade between 2001-03 and 2011-13.

Current Scenario of Gender Discrimination:

Despite these positive figures, unfortunately, women still face serious dangers to their life and liberty in our country. The problems plaguing the women of India are problems plaguing our entire society.

  • There are horrific incidents of violence every day
  • Young girls are seen dropping out of school to look after their siblings or to be married.
  • Women still contribute a disproportionate amount of unpaid work in their homes and on farms.
  • Despite having more control over their finances, they are often not given an equal say in household or work decision.

Ending Discrimination:

A number of legislations have been passed and schemes implemented to encourage women in education and formal workforce, ensure their physical and psychological health, promote public and political participation, provide the, with safe public and political spaces and enable their equality within and outside the family.

Financial Empowerment

Economic empowerment is central to the overall empowerment of women, and financial inclusion is an important part of this through the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and PM Jan Dhan Yojana, banking services have been enabled for the unbanked.

  • Attacking the root of the problem, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Programme that addresses the complex issue of mind-sets in all districts of India has been initiated. If people are not made to change the way they think about girls and women, we are unlikely to see much long-lasting success in other initiatives for empowerment.
  • Along with this, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana was also launched in 2015, under which small affordable deposits are made in the bank accounts of girls, with the benefit of higher rate of interest. The amount can be withdrawn by the girl on reaching 18 years of age, giving her a fund for higher education or other investments.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana, the government has provided credit to small entrepreneurs without the need for collateral or a guarantor. 75 per cent of these loans have been given to women.
  • Skill development is another key aspect for raising the potential of our female workforce. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana a large number of Indian youth have taken up industry relevant skill training. Till date, half of the certificates awarded under this Yojana have been given to women candidates.

Empowering Motherhood

  • To retain women in the workforce, the Maternity Benefit Act has been amended to extend the period of mandatory paid maternity leave for working women to 26 weeks. This empowers working women as they need not fear loss of salary or job due to childbirth and now they also have time to recover and breastfeed their child.
  • In order to extend protection to the unorganized sector as well pregnant and lactating mothers are provided cash incentives under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana. As partial compensation for wages loss, these mothers are provided Rs 6,000 as incentive, which enables them to take adequate rest before and after the delivery and exclusively breastfeed their child.

Promoting leadership

  • Having women in senior positions is a positive step in recognizing the merit of deserving women while also making organizations more women-friendly. The representation of women in boards of companies and at senior positions is, thus, being encouraged in all public and private companies.
  • At the village level, women members of Panchayats are leading the empowerment of their villages.

Safety of Women

  • An important aspect of empowerment is also safety. Only if women feel safe and secure will they be able to fully participate in the economy and public life. For this, the government has sanctioned 181 women Helplines in 31 States/UTs and 206 One Stop Centres have become operational where women affected by violence can access quick and easy help.
  • 33 Per cent reservation for women in the police force is also being implemented.
  • The Nirbhaya Fund is also being used to roll-out comprehensive plans to make 8 major cities in the country safer for women and also improve our forensic analysis abilities in cases of sexual assault.
  • To empower women and protect their health, the Ujjawala scheme has been introduced, which provides free LPG cylinders to women from BPL families to replace unclean cooking fuels.

Safety in Workplace

  • Workplace needs to be made conducive to women employee, strictly implementing the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
  • This provides a safe and secure environment to women at the workplace and covers all women – all ages, full-time and part-time, public and private sector, organized or unorganized sector etc. including domestic workers, students, apprentices and even those women visiting an office.
  • An online complaint system for cases of sexual harassment at workplace has been set up.

Accessing the Inaccessible

  • To reach the yet unreached women across the country, my Ministry has recently launched the Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme.
  • The way forward lies in the conviction that we must have women-led development rather than just women’s development.
  • Along with this, affirmative policies which bring women on a level playing field with others is needed.

As India looks forward to reaping benefits from its demographic dividend, the role of empowered women becomes all the more important.

Chapter 2- Empowering Women through ‘Continuum of Care’

Women empowerment begins from the womb! Preventing sex selection and stopping sex selective elimination is the first step towards empowerment of women. The Government has enacted the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 for prohibition of sex selection before or after conception and for prevention of misuse of pre-conception and pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination.

Work on the socio economic aspects of enhancing the society’s understanding of the immense value of the girl child through our flagship initiative of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.

If a country aims to build a civilization where women are strong, equal, active and productive members of their society, ensuring quality and equitable health care services to women is critical. Recognizing this Ministry of Health implements several programmes for health of women following a life-cycle ‘continuum of care’ approach to ensure equal focus on various life stages of women, ranging from a spectrum of programmes for pregnant women, the neonates, infants, young children, adolescents, and family planning programmes for women in the reproductive age group. In addition to providing healthcare services, the public health departments also pave the way for economic empowerment of women by engaging women in positions ranging from village level Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to health care providers such as Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) health care administrators and policy makers at State and National levels.

Maternity Care

For the pregnancy, every woman is entitled to quality antenatal, intra-natal and postnatal care services. Carrying forward this vision of Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has been launched to provide quality ante-natal care (ANC) to pregnant women on the 9th of every month (symbolizing nine months of pregnancy). To harness IT in reaching the most vulnerable and most inaccessible, the Ministry runs a Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) / Reproductive Child Health (RCH) portal and Kilkari mobile services which tracks and facilitates timely delivery of antenatal, postnatal care services to women and immunization services to children by the front line workers through proper line listing and also targeted age-specific messages and calls.

Shishu Suraksha

Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no-expense delivery including Caesarean section. The initiative stipulates free drugs, diagnostics, blood and diet, besides free transport from home to institution, between facilities in case of a referral and drop back home. LaQshya program – Labour room Quality improvement initiative for focused and targeted approach to strengthen key processes related to the labour rooms and maternity operation theatres.

Referral Units (FRUs), Maternal and Child Health wings, Obstetric Intensive Care Units and delivery points are established to provide basic and emergency obstetric care services. All these have resulted in the institutional delivery in the country rising to 78.9 per cent (NFHS-4 2015-16).

In a conscious effort to educate the parents and caregivers about good child rearing practices, a book titled “Journey of First 1000 Days” has been published by the Ministry of Health.

Healthy Adolescence

Considering the magnitude of various health problems and risk factors among adolescents, which may have impact on maternal and child health outcomes, Ministry of Health initiated Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakaram (RKSK) with the objectives to increase the awareness and access to information about adolescent health, provide counselling and health services and provide specific service such as sanitary napkins; iron folic acid supplementation etc. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is also implementing the Scheme for Promotion of Menstrual Hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years primarily in rural areas, with specific reference to ensuring health for adolescent girls. 7516 Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs) have also been established at health care facilities to provide care and counselling services to adolescent.

Planned Pregnancy

Every woman has the right to plan her pregnancy. The family planning programme implemented by MoHFW provides a basket of choices to help parents decide, freely and responsibly, the number and the spacing of their children. MoHFW has introduced new contraceptives viz. Injectable contraceptive Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (MPA) – Antara and a non-hormonal, non-steroidal weekly Centchroman pill, Chhaya to meet the changing needs of people. The programme also focuses on Post Partum IUCD (PPIUCD), post-partum Sterilization and on Post Abortion IUCD (PAIUCD) to help women ensure adequate spacing between children.

Caring for the Girl Child

In order to provide specialized care to infants in case of complications, Special Newborn Care Units have been established at district level and New-born Stabilization Units and newborn care corners have been established at sub district level. It is a matter of immense pride that India has the world’s largest Universal Immunization Program. To ensure full immunization for children up to two years of age and pregnant women, a special initiative, Mission Indradhanush, was started in 2014 to immunize all the left out and missed children, and pregnant women. Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), is an initiative to improve the overall quality of life of children through early detection of birth defects, diseases, deficiencies, development delays.

Drugs and Diagnostics

Ayushman Bharat brings with it several preventive and promotive services for women through the ‘Health & Wellness Centres’ (HWCs) which shall provide comprehensive primary care in addition to specialized mother and child care services. The aim is to establish about 1.5 lakh HWCs in a phased manner Mid-Level providers are being trained to provide comprehensive services at these centres ranging from reproductive and child health services to services for communicable and non-communicable disease. These centers will also provide employment to many women frontline health workers.

Government of India is striving to ensure comprehensive healthcare services to women across the country and these efforts have led to significant reduction in under-five and maternal mortality of India. Not only was India validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in April 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December 2015, India has accomplished the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for Maternal Mortality. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has substantially dropped from by a massive 37 points. From 167/lakh live births in 2011-13, it is now 130/lakh live births! This is the highest since the last several decades. This means that we are now saving 12,000 more pregnant women, as compared to 2011-13.

With the steadfast support of the States, and our dedicated and committed frontline health workers India is confident to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for maternal health much before the timeline of 2030, paving the way for a healthy, empowered and bright future for the women of India.

Chapter 3- Helping Women Gain Control of their Lives

India has witnessed a three-fold increase in population over the last half century without corresponding growth in opportunities, especially in rural areas. In recent years, the traditional roles of women have undergone some changes due to economic needs, and some efforts were made to bring visibility and mainstream women’s contribution to the overall growth and development of society. Self Help Groups (SHGs) are becoming one of the important means for the empowerment of poor women in almost all developing countries, including India through entrepreneurship development.

Empowerment:

The concept of empowerment is defined as the process by which women take control and ownership of their choices. The core elements of empowerment have been defined as agency (the ability to define one’s goals and act upon them), awareness of gendered power structures, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

Self Help Groups (SHG):

  • Micro-finance with Self Help Groups (SHG) play an effective role for promoting women entrepreneurship and financial empowerment.
  • The concept of SHGs has been proved to be a boon for the rural women in some states of India. It has not only raised their income but also their social status.
  • The SHGs micro-credit mechanism makes the members to get involved in other community development activities.
  • Micro-credit is promoting the small scale business enterprises, and its major aim is to alleviate poverty by income generating activities.

Financial Security through SHGs:

  • NABARD launched a pilot project for women on SHGs in collaboration with commercial banks and regional rural banks.
  • In addition, refinancing facilities are available through national banks for financing under the non-farm sector.
  • Studies in three states reveal that the SHGs established have helped in better recovery of loans, development of thrift and self-help among members effective use of credit for the purchase of income generating assets, and empowerment of women. This type of growth is truly an inclusive growth in India which will lead to financial empowerment of women.

Government Initiatives:

  • A special prize for “Outstanding Women Entrepreneur” of the year is being given to recognise achievements made by and to provide incentives to women entrepreneurs.
  • The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has been implementing two special schemes for women namely, Mahila Udyam Nidhi which is an exclusive scheme for providing equity to women entrepreneurs and the Mahila Vikas Nidhi which offers developmental assistance for pursuit of income generating activities to women.
  • The SIDBI has also taken the initiative to set up an informal channel for credit needs on soft terms giving special emphasis to women.

Start-up India:

  • Through the Start-up India initiative, Government of India promotes entrepreneurship by mentoring, nurturing and facilitating start-ups throughout their life cycle.
  • It has successfully given a head start to numerous aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • With a 360 degree approach to enable start-ups, the initiative provides a comprehensive four-week free online learning program, has set up research parks, incubators and start-up centres across the country by creating a strong network of academia and industry bodies.

Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP):

  • STEP was launched by the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development to train women with no access to formal skill training facilities, especially in rural India.
  • The initiative reaches out to all India women above 16 years of age.
  • The programme imparts skills in several sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, food processing, handlooms, traditional crafts like embroidery, travel and tourism, hospitality, computer and IT services.

Stand-Up India:

  • Seeks to leverage institutional credit for the benefit of India’s underprivileged.
  • It aims to enable economic participation of, and share the benefits of India’s growth, among women entrepreneurs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Towards this end, at least one women and one individual from the SC or ST communities are granted loans between Rs. 1 million to Rs 10 million to set up Greenfield enterprises in manufacturing, services or the trading sector.    

Trade related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development (TREAD):

  • To address the critical issues of access to credit among India’s underprivileged women, the TREAD programme enables credit availability to interested women through non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY):

  • A flagship initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this is a Skill Certification initiative that aims to train youth in industry-relevant skills to enhance opportunities for livelihood creation and employability.
  • Training and Assessment fees are entirely borne by the Government under this program.

Science for Equity Empowerment and Development (SEED):

  • SEED aims to provide opportunities to motivated scientists and field level workers with focus on women to undertake action-oriented, location specific projects for socio-economic gain, particularly in rural areas.
  • SEED emphasizes equity in development, so that the benefits of technology accrue to a vast section of the population, particularly the disadvantaged.

Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP):

  • NITI Aayog launched the Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), the initiative is aimed at building an ecosystem for women across India to realize their entrepreneurial aspiration, scale-up innovative initiatives and chalk-out sustainable long-term strategies for their business.
  • The platform aspires to substantially increase the number of women entrepreneurs who will create and empower a dynamic New India.
  • These aspirations are manifested in the three pillars on which WEP is built:
    1. Ichha Shakti (motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to start their enterprise)
    2. Gyaan Shakti (providing knowledge and ecosystem support to women entrepreneurs to help them foster entrepreneurship) and
    3. Karma Shakti (providing hands-on support to entrepreneurs in setting-up and scaling up businesses)

Mudra Yojana Scheme for women:

Individual women wanting to start small new enterprises and business like beauty parlors, tailoring units, tuition centres, etc. as well as a group of women. The loan doesn’t require any collateral security and can be availed as per 3 schemes.

  1. Shishu – loan amount is limited to Rs 50,000 and can by availed by those businesses that are in their initial stages.
  2. Kishor – loan amount ranges between Rs, 50,000 and Rs 5 lakhs and can be availed by those who have a well-established enterprise.
  3. Tarun – loan amount is Rs 10 lakhs and can be availed by those businesses that are well established but require further funds for the purpose of expansion.

Women’s entrepreneurship can make a particularly strong contribution to the economic well-being of the family and communities, poverty reduction and women’s empowerment, thus contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs). Governments across the world, as well as various development organizations, are actively undertaking promotion of women entrepreneurs through various schemes, incentives and promotional measures.

Chapter 4- Breaking the Shackles of Financial Deprivation

Financial inclusion helps in breaking the shackles of financial deprivation by providing a linkage between people and financial mainstream of the economy. Financial inclusion also mitigates the exploitation of vulnerable sections by the usurious money lenders. Availability of credit at reasonable rates boosts the entrepreneurship quotient of women who can start businesses with assistance from Microfinance Institutions or by being associated with Self Help Groups.

  • The government and RBI have realised the importance of supply side issues and have proactively started plugging this gap through policies like MUDRA Yojana and priority sector lending.
  • Payments banks and sector finance banks are going to be a game changer in the long run.
  • Another dimension which has long struggled to get its due share of attention is safe, easy and feasible opportunities for savings. In household, particularly women headed, formal savings options can be precious for the families to smoothen their consumption over the month and reap benefits of a plethora of saving schemes and instruments. Pradhan, Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is one such recent policy which aims to provide banking facilities to all people.
  • Policies like, Suraksha Bima Yojana and Swasthya Bima Yojana are providing the much-needed cushioning against health and disability contingencies. Complementing such schemes are the pension schemes launched recently like Atal Pension Yojana.
  • It can reduce the gender gap and gives women a strong field to save productively and insure themselves against any contingency. Women, especially in the bottom quintile stand to gain from these policies.
  • In the true sense, financial inclusion gained momentum in India since 2005-06 when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its Annual Policy stressed upon the banking practices which hampered financial inclusion of the masses RBI.
  • In 2006, another major step taken by RBI was to allow banks to engage Business Correspondents and business facilitators (BFs) as intermediaries for providing financial services, especially in rural areas. With the help of the Business Correspondent model banks have been able to provide doorstep delivery of services in the rural areas. In the financial year 2007-08, two funds-Financial Inclusion Fund and Financial Inclusion Technology Fund were initiated.

Policy Recommendations:

  •  Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, aimed at providing universal banking services to all citizens.
  • It entails services like direct benefit transfers and linked to various social security and insurance programs.
  • Between the periods of 2011-17, 77% of females above 15 year are reported to have a bank account.
  • However, the main issue with this figure is that significant percentage of such accounts is zero-balance accounts, meaning lack of usage of services.

Some of the existing issues with policies taken so far include:

BCs: The strategy has not given fruitful results due to lack of adequate branding of Banking Correspondents, because of low incentive and compensation structure and preferences for brick and mortar branch by the rural economy.

Post Offices: The potential benefits which can be reaped from the existing infrastructure of Post Office has not been exploited hitherto. The major bottlenecks remain acute shortage of manpower. Presently, there isn’t any mechanism by which post office are able to perform core banking services including lending.

Mobile Banking: India has failed to witness a revolution in mobile banking which was rather visible in countries like Kenya where over 70 per cent of its adult population has mobile bank accounts.

Literacy Programs: Financial Literacy through audio and visual-Doordarshan and established credit counselling centres have not performed satisfactorily.

Policy Recommendations to enhance Financial Inclusion among Women:

Anganwadi System: Anganwadi workers can be given basic banking training which will give them the opportunity to act as a Banking Correspondents (BC). By this way the existing infrastructure and personnel can be used to overcome the barriers of lack of physical presence of banks and also ensure last-mile delivery as promised by BCs.

Innovation in Credit Scoring Models: Women are disproportionately disadvantaged by traditional credit scoring models that rely on credit history and collateral. Innovative ways to assess risk quotient of a potential women borrower should be used. One such way as is being experimented in Africa is psychometric testing to analyse ability, intelligence and character traits to assess creditworthiness. (CGAP report)

Role of Priority Sector Advance:  Priority Sector Lending has lately played a major role in enhancing the financial coverage due to its intrinsic characteristics of catering to the most financially vulnerable part of the economy.

Tailoring Products Suited For Women: There has emerged gender difference in ownerships of assets. Understanding these differences and moulding credit products compatible with such ownership patterns is one important recommendation that RBI could take note

Financial Literacy and Demographic Dividend: There is a need to educate them about financial independence and related services like Provident Funds, Insurance Cover and Direct Benefit Transfer Schemes dearth of technical know-how and myths regarding banking services are a serious impediment in opening of bank accounts in India.

Mobile Money  A New Dimension: Mobile ownership has shown less gender gap and hence provides an opportunity to those women who find it an onerous task to go to banks or ATMS, especially in areas where travelling can cost one day’s worth of wage or time. There is need to make the rural women more aware about such innovations.

Importance of Further Research and Gender Desegregated Data:

Further policy making is possible when family level desegregated data is made available which highlights the reasons why women lack in accessing formal financial services. Advanced models which include qualitative variables like gender, behavioural aspects and cognitive models need to be incorporated to fully understand the reasons behind low financial inclusion.

Conclusion: 

The findings suggest a strong case for penetrating financial services for women via Anganwadis and Priority Sector Lending. Prosper awareness campaigns will help in changing behavioural attitudes towards a more cashless lifestyle. Promoting Mobile banking and corresponding infrastructure to ensure safe online transactions (backed by an insurance fund) are some effective policy tools. However, Financial Inclusion is still a germinating concept and needs to be fully understood by incorporating qualitative variables and cognitive models into the analysis.

Chapter 5- Ensuring Equality for the Minority Women

The Quran and Prophet had visualised equality, dignity and status for women. Muslim women across the globe even today struggling to break from the culture of oppression that denies them identity they continue to be marked, oppressed and violated. Their status of the subaltern sex of an already weakened community is widely watched and labelled. In short, Muslim women are still distance away from the path of development.

Many patriarchal values in Islam are borrowed from other religions and cultures. For example, dowry became the practice, which is totally prohibited in Islam. Or caste, there is no concept whatsoever of caste in Islam. Islam negates caste hierarchy. Yet, according to NSSO figures, 41 per cent Muslims consider themselves as OBCs in 2004-05. The big cross cutting issue is poverty closely followed by the stranglehold of Muslim Personal Law. Story after story is told about multiple marriages, Triple Talaq and abandonment without Mehr or maintenance Zardozi workers, Beedi rollers, domestic helps, farm labourers all spoke of their triple disadvantage. This exercise led to a landmark report voice of the Voiceless; Status of Muslim Women in India 2000, which contextualised these matters.

  • Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan was formed in 2006 and served as an important advocacy group.
  • Another important trend was judgments by court favouring Muslim women.

Supreme Court Judgements:

  1. In the 2009 case of a divorce petition of Shabana Bano and Imran Khan of Gwalior, the Supreme Court ruled that the women under Section 125 CrPc would be entitled to claim maintenance after Iddat so long as she does not remarry. This being a beneficial legislation the benefit would accrue to the Muslim woman.
  2. The role of Muslim women activists in India has been crucial for improving the legal lot of Muslim women. Clearly, concrete steps need to be taken towards remedying the consistent failure of the religious authorities to implement those provisions of Islamic law that were originally designed to emancipate women but which are widely ignored in practice today.
  3. The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment on triple talaq seeks to obtain the rights provided to women in the Quran.

Developments in the latest Law Commission’s Reports:

Since polygamy, nikahhalala, adultery law are in the Supreme Court, the Law Commission has discussed reforms but not made recommendations. It has made an important pronouncement on the UCC stating that the time for enacting is not now. Its stand is in favour of equality ‘within communities’ between men and women (personal law reform), rather than ‘equality between’ communities (UCC). The Commission goes on to emphasise that celebration of the diversity of Indian culture must not dis-privilege specific groups and “women must be guaranteed their freedom of faith without any compromise on their right to equality” as it would be unfair to make women choose between one or the other.

Chapter 6- Empowering Tribal Women

There are around 705 Scheduled Tribes (STs) notified in India. Apart from this, around 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) are also present. ST community constituted around 8.6 % of the total population as per Census 2011. Tribals in India have seen a growth from 3 crores in 1961 to 10.4 crores in 2011. Sex Ratio which has been a matter of concern for the population as a whole has shown improvement. The literacy rates among STs of India remain below the national average of 73%. The female literacy at 49% compares poorly to 69% among the male counterparts in tribal communities.

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) was carved out of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in the year 1999 with a mission to enhance the socio economic status of the trial population in India, preserving their dignity and culture besides working towards bridging gaps in Human Development Indices (HDI) of tribals vis-à-vis other social groups through an outcome-based approach, through convergence of available resources and re-engineering of process.
  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs is committed to tribal development through specially tailored educational, infrastructure and livelihood scheme to effectively plug the critical gaps.
  • In addition to various provisions in the Constitution of India that not only grant equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established through an amendment to Article 338 of the constitution by way of Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.
  • NCST oversees the implementation of various safeguards provided to Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution.
  • The major policies of MoTA aim to ensure overall development of both ST men and women.

Access to Quality Education:

  • One of the flagship interventions of MoTA, the Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs), focuses on improving access to quality education. More than 50 per cent of students in these schools are girls.
  • Same is the case with Ashram Schools where the focus is on ST girls.
  • In order to provide an enabling environment to girl students studying in non ST specific schools, ST girls hostels have been constructed in different places.
  • Financial assistance is provided to girls from the ST community to pursue their education at various levels.
  • The Pre and Post Matric scholarships for ST students, majority of who are girls is to enable them to pursue their education till 12st standard.
  • At college/university level, under the scheme of “National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST student:, ST students are encouraged to acquire higher qualifications like M.Phils and Ph.D. 30 per cent of the total fellowships is earmarked for ST girls. Similarly 30 per cent awards are earmarked for ST girls under the National Overseas Scholarships (NOS) for pursuing Post Graduation, Ph.D and Post-Doctoral studies abroad. Support is also given to NGOs to run schools in districts having low literacy among ST girls under the scheme of “Strengthening Education among Scheduled Tribe (ST) Girls in Low Literacy Districts”.

Schemes for Economic Development:

  • The National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation is an apex organization under Ministry of Tribal Affairs for economic development of STs.
  • The Corporation is having an exclusive scheme for economic development of ST women titled “Adivasi Mahila Sashaktikaram Yojana” (AMSY). Under the scheme, the Corporation provides financial assistance up-to 90 per cent to projects with an outlay of Rs 1 lakh at a concessional rate of interest of 4 per cent.
  • The Corporation also extends its financial assistance for women beneficiaries under other income generating schemes.
  • Apart from this, schemes like Minimum Support Price to Minor Forest Produce (MSP to MFP) and support to tribal artisans by Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) also benefit the ST women largely.

Right to Forest Produce:

  • The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 provides for full and unrestricted participation of women at all levels.
  • Another important provision in the Act is that the “right conferred shall be registered jointly in the name of both the spouses”.
  • The Forest Rights Committee provides that at least two-third members shall be Scheduled Tribes and not less than one-third of such members shall be women.
  • Under the scheme of Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme (SCA to TSS) and Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, skill development and capacity building of ST women are taken up by States with complete support of MoTA.
  • The Tribal Research Institutes conduct training cum awareness programmes and workshops for ST women Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) members on several issues like leadership development, women empowerment awareness on PESA, FRA etc.
  • Steps are also being taken to improve the infrastructure in tribal areas including road connectivity, modernization of tribal haats (markets), improving the processing and storage facilities, etc. MoTA has encouraged tribal festivals National and State levels that serves as window for tribals including women folk to showcase rich skills and talents. In varied art forms.

Conclusion:

The Ministry is committed to fill the gaps in implementation of various programmes and supplement the efforts of other Ministries. More than 50 per cent of the budget of the Ministry is largely spent in sectors including education, health, nutrition and livelihoods benefitting the tribal population and also the tribal women in specific. Realizing the important role played by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in reaching the unreached areas, the Ministry has been supporting many NGOs who have been able to extend health and education facilities to tribals in deficient areas. Empowerment of Women is a continuous process, the gap between the general population and STs in general and amongst ST population in particular needs to be eliminated.

Chapter 7- In Pursuit of Inclusive Growth in India

Inappropriate allocation of talent and human capital impacts growth rate of GDP. In improving women’s participation by 10 percentage points, India could add USD 700 billion by 2025.

Stylized Facts for India

  • The already low female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) in India is declining further when compared to any other region in the world.
  • The gap in male-female rates, low and stagnant urban rates, and declining rural rates, loss of women from labour market in all regions and sectors are the primary features.
  • However, aspirations and need for employment are still high among women with unemployment rates (UR) being higher than men.

Women in Northern states have lower Female Work Participation Rate (FWPR) compared to Subsidiary status employment in both rural and urban areas and they predominate in the agricultural sector. The next largest FWPR is in public services where the state is the primary employer followed by one segment of manufacturing industries like the textile sector.

Determinant of FWPR:

  • Demand side or structural factors and supply side or cultural factors like family roles and societal norms impact FWPR”
  • The role of caregiving and the limited time spend by men in sharing the household work are primary factors depressing FWPR and studies have shown that with domestic help or presence of informal support from other family members improves FWPR.
  • Easier access to transportation would enable women to save time, empowering them to take on economic activities alongside care work.
  • In rural areas where an expansion of transportation facilities by the state is noted, an increase in women participating in non-agricultural employment is observed but is also contingent upon gender norms in the household and the community.
  • As part of corporate governance policies all over the world India instituted quotas for women in the board since 2013.
  • Better responsiveness of the state to crime rates and sexual harassment, laws extending night working hours for women and incentives for women entrepreneurs, impacts inter-state variation in FWPR.
  • Chances of participation in workforce for women increased in regions where there is a higher reported confidence in police/judiciary and lower reported crime.
  • Finally, female political representation promotes female employment due to access to public goods like paved roads, primary health centres and banks. Higher receptiveness of female leaders leads to more accommodating work environment for their female constituents.
  • Pursuit of inclusive growth involves the role of the state as a regulator while providing public goods and services alongside liberal socio-cultural norms within the household/community.
  • Fiscal policies like lower taxes did not improve female employment as the gains from it perhaps did not offset the costs involved.

Government Policies

  • Government policies annul the trade-off between equity and growth.
  • MGNREGA increased FWPR, reduced gender gaps in wages in other markets with positive implications on poverty, child and own nutritional status and empowerment.
  • With the expansion of NRHM, ASHA workers have increased, impacting FWPR.
  • Alongside the ICDS the Creche schemes should be strengthened further, as in these two schemes, women would be the service providers which could make widespread additions to workforce across all rural India.
  • Hostel for Working Women Scheme was brought in as an effort towards creating a safe working environment and providing affordable accommodation for working women away from their home-town.
  • The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 was emended in 2017 to primarily include increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks, provide an option of ‘work from home’ for women after the 26 weeks and also included provision of crèche facility and leave for mothers adopting children.
  • As a part of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ the launch of online market platform for Indian women entrepreneurs with e-commerce marketplaces known as Mahila E Haat will improve market access.
  • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) provides financial support to non-corporate small businesses and extends a 0.25 per cent rebate on refinance interest rates to women borrowers, encouraging female entrepreneurship.
  • Additionally, behavioural issues as in the context of Swach Bharat should be paid attention to, since social norms take lot more time to change but clearly some leverage exists in terms of community participation.

Overall, what emerges is that when the policies and institutions favouring development improve so would economic citizenship for all the socially disadvantaged groups including women.

Chapter 8- Empowering Women: Legal Provisions

“To awaken the people, it is women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves.” – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Our constitution guarantees the right to equality and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex. However, gender discrimination has its roots in the Indian society since ancient times.

Salient issues which have been discussed by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in recent years:

Supreme Court has been playing an extremely positive role in examining the laws which have become archaic several of which are provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, including Section 376 which deals with rape, Section 377 which deals with sodomy and sexual relationship between homosexuals and Section 497 which deals with adultery.

Section 497:

  • Section 497 penalizes any man who has illicit relations with the wife of another man without the consent or connivance of that man. This is an extremely gender biased provision and is violative of both. Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution Firstly, it treats a woman like the property of her husband. It is not an offence if such an act is done ‘with the consent or connivance’ of the husband. Secondly, the offence is said to be committed by the man having illicit relations with the wife of another man and the wife is not punishable even as an abettor as she is treated like a victim. Thirdly, if a man has relations outside the marriage, neither he nor the women with whom he has such relations can be prosecuted.
  • The recommendations by the 42nd Law Report, 1971 and the Mali math Committee Report, 2003, to amend the definition to make it gender neutral, have failed to materialize. It has come to light recently in Joseph Shive v. UOI, wherein a petition challenging the constitutional validity of this provision was filed in the Supreme Court of India. The bench observed that in this provision the concept of gender neutrality is absent and it creates a dent on the individual identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the consent or connivance of the husband and the time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field and this provision, on the face of it, appears to be archaic.
  • However, emplacing on the moral sanctity of marriage in India, the stand of the Centre has been that Section 497 supports and safeguards the institution of marriage.
  • The supreme court judgement has struck down Section 497 of IPC overturning the 3 previous rulings which had stated that the adultery law was constitutional.

Section 497:

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • The judges called Section 497 archaic and said that it violated Articles 14 and 21 of the IPC
  • The justices said, “Adultery can be ground for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence.”
  • The bench said that Section 497 was ‘unconstitutional’ as it violated the right to equality and there was no reason to continue this anymore
  • However, the Supreme Court held that adultery will remain a ground for divorce
  • Justice DY Chandrachud said that Section 497 destroys and deprives women of dignity
  • “Women must be treated with equality with men. Any discrimination shall invite wrath of Constitution. A woman can’t be asked to think the way society desires,” said CJI Misra for himself and J Khanwilkar
  • CJI Misra added that the husband is not the master of the wife

Issue of Triple Talaq:

  • The very question whether it was indeed a part of the Muslim Personal Law the subject-matter before the Courts. Instant Triple is an age-old practice among the Sunni Muslims, most prominently the Hanafi sect, under which a Muslim man can unilaterally and irrevocably divorce his wife by pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ three times in one sitting.
  • Over the years, this provision had been misused by Muslim men to the detriment of the Muslim women, wherein a husband divorced his wife through a text message, or over the phone. Prior to this, a talaq pronounced under compulsion or in jest was held to be valid and effective. The only condition necessary for a valid divorce was that the husband is a major and of sound mind at that time. It need not even be addressed to the wife and it took effect the moment it came to her knowledge.
  • High Court had observed that a talaq pronounced without reasonable cause and without being preceded by attempts of reconciliation by two arbiters would not lead to a valid divorce. Similar were the observations of the Supreme Court of India in Shamim Ara v. State of U.P. and Ors. Thus, even a Triple Talaq could not be without contemplation and without any pause or room for introspection. Many Muslim majority countries, including Pakistan, have abolished this practice.
  • Finally, in 2017 the constitutional validity of Instant Triple Talaq came before the Supreme Court of India in the case Shayara Bano v. Union of India & Ors. [(2017) 9 SCC 1] By a 3:2 majority, it was held to be unconstitutional, arbitrary and violative of Article 14      

Right to Property:

The amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 gave women the right to a share in the joint family property of both, the parents and the in-laws. Prior to this, women had a right to a limited estate. The ouster of women from right to inherent and own property, if they married outside the community, is present under tribal law as well as under various religious laws. Under the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908, women who married outside the community, were said to have “lost their right to parental property”.

Right to Religious Identity:

Under the Parsi Laws, a Parsi women who marry outside their community are said to have lost their religious identity. The children of a Parsi man married outside the community, can become a Parsi. However, the children of a Parsi woman married outside the community cannot become a Parsi. A Parsi woman married outside the community is not allowed her parents ‘Tower of Silence and attend her parents’ funeral rituals. This was challenged by a Parsi woman, Goolrukh Gupta in the Gujarat High Court, wherein the Court upheld the decision to debar a Parsi woman from performing religious practices by observing that in all religions, whether Christianity, Parsi, or Judaism, the religious identity of a woman shall merge into that of her husband. When this ruling was challenged in the Supreme Court of India, the Parsi Trust went against its age-old tradition and stated that it would allow her to visit the ‘Tower of Silence’ to attend her parents’ funeral rituals.

Physical Molestation:

Since the incidents of rape in India have gone up exponentially, the Courts as well as the legislature have stepped in with various amendments. Prior to 2013, the definition of ‘rape’ under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was a narrow one, including only sexual intercourse within its ambit. It was only after the infamous Nirbhaya gang-rape case that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Anti-Rape Bill) was passed under which the definition was enlarge to include acts like penetration, insertion of objects, etc. In 2018, the Supreme Court of India upheld the death sentence of four out of six accused persons in that case. One of the accused persons was a juvenile and despite being the most brutal, he was released after three years only because he was a few months short of 18 years of age. Subsequent to this incident, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was passed which provided that a juvenile, 16 years or older, who commits a heinous offence (offence punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more) will be tried as an adult, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 was approved by the President, under which the quantum of punishment for rape was increased, especially in case of a girl under 16 years of age. A noticeable peculiarity is that the definition of rape, even after the amendment, does not recognise ‘marital rape’ as ‘rape, unless the wife is under 15 years of rage. The stand taken against criminalizing it is that it would lead to degradation of the institution of marriage in our society.

Common Civil Code:

  • A Uniform Civil Code which governs the personal matters of all the citizens irrespective of their religion is the linchpin of true secularism. There is a need for such a code as various personal laws prevalent in India discriminate against women and have a long way to move towards promoting gender parity.
  • According to Article 14, every citizen is subject to the same set of laws, criminal and civil, the only exception being personal laws. With the increase in the number of women approaching the Courts to protect their fundamental rights, the Law Commission has been asked to probe into the possibility of implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in India whereby men and the women will be put at par in relation to personal laws. Article 44 (Directive Principle of State Policy) of the Constitution of India articulates a provision for the Uniform Civil Code. It states that “The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”
  • Uniform Civil Code is not devoid of the difficulties, especially in a country like India where there is tremendous cultural diversity across various religions, castes, etc. It may be perceived as an encroachment on the guaranteed right to religious freedom. No matter how progressive, no such decision can be forced on the people without their acceptance.
  • Thus, over the years, the need for reform has been recognized in India and the Supreme Court of India has been playing a constructive role in reshaping laws which have a long way to move towards achieving an equal status for woman in the society.

Chapter 9- Meeting the Challenges of Gender Empowerment

Acknowledging that women’s empowerment is a process in which women to participate, negotiate, influence and hold accountable, the institutions that affect their affect their lives is a step in the right direction. This necessitates harnessing women’s power, utilizing their potential and encouraging women to work towards goals defined by them. Creating conditions demands the incorporation of women’s voice and agency as central prerequisites in gender empowerment policies and programmes (World Bank 2014).

Defining Empowerment:

The World Bank (2002) identifies empowerment as being about increasing people’s choices and freedom of action to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives.

Critiquing the Concept:

  • Governmental and other empowerment policies focus on gender relations but fail to recognize that women are a heterogeneous group.
  • Accordingly, less attention is paid to women as dynamic, spirited individuals with an abundance of talents and qualities that could contribute to their own empowerment i.e., that include women themselves as a resource in their own empowerment. As result, conventional “one size fits all” empowerment programmes fail to address problems of the most marginalised women because they have not recognised that women’s aspirations and needs are complex, sometimes contradictory or that women may have varying motives for challenging or not challenging the existing status quo.
  • To challenge the dominant beliefs of the society in terms of hierarchy, patriarchy and power politics requires empowerment policies and programmes that seek to and understand how the convergence of multiple identities with gender manifests to impede women’s empowerment.

Taking Gender Empowerment Seriously:

  • To have a voice is to be a citizen but having a voice without being listened to is to deny citizenship.
  • If gender empowerment is to be attained, women’s voices need to be heard in a broad range of decision-making forum, from households to national parliaments.
  • There must be space for women to voice their needs and challenge gender norms in their community-individually and collectively without fear.
  • Further choosing an empowerment process that focuses on the experiences of the women in their everyday life has a number of consequences.
  • Amplifying the voices of women and increasing their agency can yield broad development dividends for them and for their families, communities, and societies”.

SHGs: Micro-Credit and Micro-Empowerment:

In the process of their engagement with various Self-help Groups, women acquire collective consciousness that is empowering which enables them to be an active agent in household decision making, raise a voice or form an opinion but only in a limited sphere. Thus, in the field areas, SHGs have become an organised space to offer solidarity and collective identity to marginalised rural women and provided the possibility of credit at the doorsteps. It is also true that gains in women’s economic status and their entitlements may be symbolic or limited in nature due to the prevailing patriarchal attitudes within the household.

Chapter 10- Women, Health and Development

Low dietary intake, repeated pregnancy and lactation and infections were major factors responsible for under-nutrition and anaemia in women. Under-nutrition and anaemia in pregnant women is a major factor responsible for low birth weight of the offspring. In the new century under-nutrition and anaemia continue to be major nutrition problems; in addition there has been progressive rise in over nutrition in women in all segments of the population both in urban and in rural areas. The rise in over-nutrition is associated with increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. This article reviews the problem of triple burden of malnutrition (under-nutrition, over-nutrition and anaemia) in women and health hazards associated with these.

Dietary Intake in Women:

In the existing scenario, there is a need to increase the pulse and vegetable intake so that the protein and micro-nutrient requirements of women are met.

Physical Activity:

Research studies in urban areas and surveys carried out by National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) in rural areas showed that, by the mid-1990s a majority of Indian women had become sedentary. There is an urgent need to ensure that all women do undertake moderate physical activity.

Economic Growth and Energy Consumption:

Between the years 1990 and 1990, the Indian economy grew relatively slowly. In the new century, India became one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Global experience has shown that when developing countries experience rapid economic growth, there is an increase in total energy intake and consumption of animal foods. This did not happen in India National Sample Survey Organisation showed that the higher GDP growth and rise in per capita incomes in the last three decades was associated with a progressive reduction in per capita energy intake in both urban and rural areas. It is believed that there is a possibility of perceptive Indians having realised the steep decrease in their physical activity and therefore voluntarily reduced the energy intake.

Nutritional Status of Women:

National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) repeat rural surveys showed that, between 1975 and 2012, there was a reduction in under-nutrition from 52 per cent to 33 per cent in women. Over the same period, the prevalence of over-nutrition increased from 3 to 16 per cent in women. It Is a matter of concern that the reduction in under-nutrition was matched by the rise in over-nutrition, and so the proportion of normally-nourished persons remained unchanged at around 60 per cent.

Over-nutrition:

Over-nutrition is associated with increased risk of non-communicable disease (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes. In view of this prevention, early detection and effective management of over-nutrition are of paramount important. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that women do seek periodic health check-ups. Health education to women clearly informing them that undue weight gain is harmful and it is essential to seek periodic check-up for early detection and effective management of non-communicable diseases has to be done using all modes, of communication.

Anaemia in Women:

Indian women have and continue to have the highest prevalence of anaemia in the world. India, the prevalence of anaemia is high because of:

  • Low overall dietary intake, poor iron and folic acid intake
  • Poor bio-availability of iron in the phytate fibre-rich Indian diet resulting in widespread iron and folic acid deficiencies
  • Chronic blood loss due to infections such as malaria and took worm infestations.

In India, anaemia begins right from infancy, continues into childhood, increases in severity during adolescence in girls, and gets aggravated during pregnancy and among the elderly. The prevalence of anaemia is high not only among under-nourished persons but also in normal and over-nourished individuals. There is an urgent need to use all available interventions to accelerate the pace of reduction prevalence of anaemia. The three-pronged strategy will accelerate the pace of reduction in anaemia and enable the country to achieve the SDG target for reduction in anaemia

  • Increasing iron intake of all persons of the household through dietary diversification and use of iron-fortified iodized salt
  • Iron and folic acid supplementation to women
  • Testing for, detecting and treating anaemia as and when women access health care for any reason.

Efforts to undertake screen for under-nutrition, over-nutrition, anaemia and NCDs in women as an essential component of preventive health care at all levels, will go a long way in accelerating the pace of women becoming healthy and well nourished. They will then be able to bring about improvement in health and nutritional status of households. The country can benefit from women fulfilling their role as agents of national development.

Chapter 11- Communication: Overarching Role in Women Empowerment

Our ancient scriptures extol the virtues of womanhood. According to Upanishads, man and woman are the tow manifestations of one supreme power and are equal in strength power and disposition. Over the ages, women became subject to social exclusion, multiple deprivation and mental and physical abuse. The vicious cycles of inequality perpetuated a decline in the status of women and fostered lop-sided development. The 21st century, however, presents a paradoxical situation. Now, a section of women enjoy the fruits of socio-economic development, and they have made a place for themselves in the society. But, a large number of their counterparts remain deprived even of the right to live with dignity. A girl child is, sometimes considered unworthy of life itself. Women, as serious decision-makers or as hard core professionals are mostly being overlooked.

Impact of ICT: 

  • The growth in ICT has further boosted the scope and outreach of communication coverage and enhanced opportunities for education, both formal and informal, skill development, capacity-building, financial inclusion, health care, etc.
  • Mass media is also gradually gearing up in popularising a plethora of women-oriented programs for empowerment.
  • The recent policy statements bear a mark of the nation’s persistent determination to reach the goals of inclusivity and empowerment. The National Policy for Women (NPW), 2016, is a landmark document, which pronounces the resolve realising the constructive engagement of women in nation development.
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, is a path-breaking law, enforcing an obligation upon every employer for ensuring a safe working space.
  • National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) Scheme 2016-17, is a combined strategy for inter-sectoral convergence of programs for women, with the use of multiple communication tools in advocacy campaigns.
  • Women’s Helpline has come into existence to reach out to women in distress.
  • Support to Training and Employment Program (STEP) is aimed at adding new skills to women.
  • Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), as grass roots institutions, have mobilised and facilitated women in availing facilities for development, be it information, financial or material resources or services.

The Public Service Broadcaster, with its country wide footprint, and wing, All India Raid (AIR), and Doordarshan, is a front-runner in public communication. Women’s empowerment has remained at the top of its agenda. ‘Stree Shakti’, a one-hour show on DD National, highlights the success stories of women achievers. DD News airs ‘Tejaswini’, which has already crossed more than 100 episodes. The show showcases stories of exemplary women who dared to tread unbeaten tracks, and reached goals. ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon’, another program on Doordarshan, has earned many laurels as being one of the most watched shows in the world.

‘Beti Bachhao Beti Padhao’ program at Panipat in Haryana has already begun showing positive gains in terms of SRB, ANC registration and institutional deliveries, and a significant rise in enrolment of girls at the primary and secondary levels of education. It was the success of a public communication strategy which is based on innovative local level interventions.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, has within two years brought in 16.34 crore women under the banking system, under the Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, which is an attempt to secure the future of a girl child, more than 126 crore new accounts have been opened 2017. Women again far surpassed men in garnering more than 75 per cent of sanctioned loans under the Mudra scheme for entrepreneurship development.

Modern technology-enabled society with the help of mass media is making the best use of the power of communication in ameliorating the lives of people. The amalgamation of human lives and mass media in the present era has given rise to a tremendous force in stimulating a sense of involvement among masses, an essential pre-requisite for transformation in society.


Get the gist of Yojana previous issues here.