The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, came into existence as a separate Ministry with effect from 30 January, 2006. It is the nodal Ministry for all matters relating to women and children. The prime functions of the Ministry include promoting the survival, protection, development and participation of women and children in a holistic manner.
The following have been the significant achievements of the Ministry in 2011-2012.
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
The health and security of the country’s children is integral to any vision for its progress and development. One of the issues marring the vision for the country’s children is the evil of child sexual abuse, and a special law – the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 – was passed by Parliament in May, 2012 to address this issue. The Act received the President’s assent on 19th June 2012 and was notified in the Gazette of India for public information on 20th June, 2012. The Act came into force on 14th of November, 2012, along with the rules framed under the Act.
The Act is gender-neutral and defines a child as any person below the age of eighteen years. It provides precise definitions for different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. The Act provides for stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence, with a maximum term of rigorous imprisonment for life for certain offences, and fine.
In keeping with the best international child protection standards, the Act provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. It also prescribes punishment for a person if he provides false information with the intention to defame any person, including a child. Most importantly, the Act provides for child-friendly procedures for reporting of offences, recording of evidence, investigation and trial.
Under Section 45 of the Act, the power to make rules rests with the Central Government. The rules framed under the Act provide for qualifications and experience of interpreters, translators, special educators, and experts; arrangements for care and protection and emergency medical treatment of the child; compensation payable to a child who has been the victim of a sexual offence; and the manner of periodic monitoring of the provisions of the Act by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights.
The rules rely on the structures established under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, such as Child Welfare Committees and District Child Protection Units, to make arrangements for the care and protection of the child and to ensure that the child is not re-victimised in the course of investigation and trial. They also provide that where a child is taken to a medical facility for emergency medical care, no magisterial requisition or other documentation may be demanded by such facility prior to rendering medical care. The rules also lay down criteria for award of compensation by the Special Court, which includes the gravity of the offence; loss of educational opportunity or employment as a result of the offence; and disability, disease or pregnancy suffered as a consequence of the offence. The compensation may be awarded at the interim stage as well as upon completion of trial.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
The ICDS Scheme has been under implementation since 1975. The challenges arising out of the present status of child health and nutrition has necessitated introduction of new interventions:
· During the year more than 97 projects and 14486 AWCs made operational.
· Proposal for Strengthening & Restructuring ICDS Scheme approved by the CCEA on 24.9.2012 and Administrative approval issued on 22.10.2012. The roll out is in process in the 200 identified high burden districts.
· The IDA-assisted ‘ICDS Systems strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project’ (ISSNIP) approved by the CCEA on 4 th October 2012 for a total outlay of Rs. 2893 crore (with IDA share of Rs. 2023 crore equivalent to US$ 450 million ) for a seven year period starting from the effectiveness of the project with an estimated cost of about Rs. 681.71 crore for phase 1 (3 years) and Rs. 2211.23 crore for phase 2 (4 years). The agreement with the World Bank was signed on 5.11.2012 and the project effectiveness has been notified on 26.11.2012 by the Department of External Affairs.
· A framework for multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burdened districts prepared. A follow up meeting was held under the Chairmanship of the Principal Secretary, PMO and it was decided to re-visit the concept in view of limited resources and thereafter process EFC and approvals.
· A nation-wide Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign against malnutrition was launched by the Hon’ble President of India at Vigyan Bhawan on 19th November 2012.
· Finalisation of Draft ECCE Policy, Framework and field testing – National Consultation to finalise the Policy held on 29th October, 2012. Finalisation and approval of competent authority for draft ECCE policy is under process. For pilot testing process of National ECE Curriculum, Orientation workshop held for the States participating in the pilot test on 30-31 August 2012, state-specific (contextual) curriculum developed, training of functionaries is being conducted to develop their skills for transacting the curriculum of AWCs. Pilot testing of curriculum to commence from December, 2012.
· Roll out of revised MIS – For roll-out of revised MIS in States/UTs, 22 States/UTs has been provided with state-specific print-ready formats of revised AWC Registers in local languages for printing of AWC Registers and Report formats. Three states viz. Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have completed the printing. Eleven states have initiated printing process and are at various stages of completion.
· IVRS based monitoring of AWC key indicators – For piloting of IVRS based monitoring of AWCs in select projects in 21 states, as part of National Resource Platform (NRP), information from AWCs started and States are pursued to get higher saturation of data from AWCs in the system.
· Web-based on-line monitoring of AWCs- For pilot testing of web-based on-line monitoring in select projects in 12 states, coding for AWCs being assigned. Data Entry software developed for input of AW-MPR, AW-ASR, CDPO-MPR & CDPO-ASR. Initially, pilot started with one project in Delhi.
Achievements under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme is being implemented since 2009-10. All States have signed the MoU to implement the Scheme, except Jammu & Kashmir, and have commenced implementation. Considerable progress has been made in setting up of statutory structures, such as JJBs and CWCs, and existing institutional services and open shelters are being reviewed and upgraded for enhancement in quality of services. Dedicated Service Delivery Structure (SCPS, DCPUs and SARAs) have been set up by all major States and in most staff has already been appointed and trained. Locations covered by Childline services as well as number of registered adoption agencies have more than doubled after commencement of the implementation of ICPS. Already about 63,545 children are availing services under the Scheme.
As on date expenditure under the Scheme has been Rs. 163.51 crores.
The component wise status for which financial support is provided under ICPS is as follows:
2. Dedicated Service Delivery Structures
ICPS provides for setting up of a dedicated service delivery structure, with a cadre of personnel exclusively working on planning, implementation and monitoring of the Scheme, so that maximum benefits can accrue to the children. These include:
2.1 State Child Protection Society (SCPS): So far all States & UTs except Goa and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have set up SCPSs.
2.2 State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA): So far 24 States have set up SARAs in their State/UT.
2.3 District Child Protection Units: 568 DCPUs have been set up so far.
3. Statutory Support Services
ICPS provides grants to the State Governments/UT Administrations for setting up and maintenance of statutory bodies under the JJ Act. These include:
3. 1 Child Welfare Committees (CWCs): Prior to implementation of ICPS 240 CWCs were functioning in the country. ICPS has given a fillip to this component and number of CWCs has gradually increased to 607.
3.2 Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs): Prior to implementation of ICPS 211 JJBs were functioning in the country which has gradually increased to 609 after introduction of ICPS.
3.3 Training of CWC and JJB members: A special thrust has been given to the training of CWC and JJB members through NIPCCD and State governments. In the current year so far, around 688 CWC members and 264 JJB members have been trained.
4.Care, Support and Rehabilitation Services
ICPS provides grants for setting up and running either by themselves or through voluntary sector, various types of rehabilitation services for children in difficult circumstances. These include:
4.1 Open Shelters in Urban and Semi Urban Areas: So far 157 open shelters have been provided financial assistance under ICPS. Prior to implementation of ICPS, 90 Street Children projects (now open shelters) were supported by the Ministry.
4.2 Institutional Services: 1037 homes till date have been supported under the Scheme. Prior to implementation of ICPS, 1268 Homes of various types were supported by the Ministry. The number of Homes supported has reduced as many Homes were found underutilised and rationalisation exercise has been undertaken.
4.3 Family Based Non-Institutional Care:
Whereas institutional care would continue to be one of the major means for rehabilitation of children with no – or minimal – family support, ICPS seeks to promote family based care for all children through various interventions. These include:
i) Adoption: 222 SAAs have been provided support under ICPS. Prior to implementation of ICPS, 71 Shishu Grehs (now SAAs) were supported by the Ministry.
ii) Sponsorship & Foster Care Fund: The sponsorship programme was piloted in Odisha and Gujarat and the number of children covered were 17 and 279 respectively. However, from 2012-13 it has been decided to provide Sponsorship fund to all the States through District Child Protection Units. Similarly, the Foster Care programme was being piloted in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand. However, the guidelines for Foster Care have not been finalised as the reports from these States are not encouraging.
4.4 Emergency Outreach Services through Childline: This service has been expanded to 264 cities/districts of the country from 83 cities before implementation of ICPS.
5. Other initiatives:
a) TrackChild: To enable monitoring of the progress of children availing services under ICPS on a realtime basis as well as facilitate matching of ‘missing’ and ‘found’ children, a software namely TrackChild, has been developed through NIC and its implementation has begun in fourteen pilot States after training of all stakeholders in these States including JJ/ICPS personnel as well as police officers. For this project, nodal officers have been appointed under the department implementing ICPS in 18 States and by the Police in all States.
To fast track the implementation of this software, the Ministry in association with MHA and NIC organised an All India Conference on 30th October, 2012 in which senior police officers (responsible for tracing missing persons) and senior officers from the departments of women and child of the State Governments were present.
b) Registration of Homes: In view of the recent spate of reports of abuse of children within institutions, considerable emphasis is being placed on registration of all Child Care Institutions under the JJ Act and formation of Inspection Committees, Management Committees and Children’s Committees. Many States have confirmed that the process of identification and registration is well underway.
c) Guidelines have been framed, piloted and finalised for Sponsorship and After Care components of the Scheme.
d) Keeping in view various incidents of irregular transfer of children from one State to another and their misuse and abuse thereafter, Standard Operation Procedures for transfer of children under the JJ Act, from one location and another have been developed and circulated to all State Governments for implementation.
e) Need assessment: The process of identifying the problems being faced by their children, and mapping the more susceptible areas, has been begun in most States. The States are also being urged, through regular interactions, to assess the needs of children through district-wise studies and draw up their implementation plans accordingly.
f) Facilitating implementation by States/UTs: ICPS is a complex and multi-layered scheme and, therefore, the functionaries of both, the State/UT Governments, as well as the voluntary sector, require continuous hand-holding to understand various facets of the Scheme and implement them. The Ministry has attempted to facilitate implementation of the Scheme through regular interactions with them.
· An inter-ministerial Project Approval Board has been set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, to review the implementation so far, appraise the financial proposals of the States/UTs and guide the States/ UTs for improving the services and 57 PAB meetings have been held so far.
· A separate web page has been created for ICPS containing details of the Scheme, relevant legislations and other important documents, minutes of PAB meetings, sanction letters, list of facilities supported under ICPS etc.
· To facilitate cross learning and document best practices, five regional consultations have been scheduled this year of which two have already been held.
· Tools for facilitating the work of functionaries, such as templates for preparation of District Child Protection Plans, online facility for submission of financial proposals and monitoring data have also been developed.
Achievements of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW)
The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) was launched by the Government of India on International Women’s Day in 2010 with the aim to strengthen overall processes that promote all-round development of women
It has the mandate to strengthen the inter-sector convergence; facilitate the process of coordinating all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments. The Mission aims to provide a single window service for all programmes run by the Government for Women under aegis of various Central Ministries.
In light with its mandate, the Mission has been named Mission Poorna Shakti, implying a vision for holistic empowerment of women. Progress of the NMEW till December, 2012 is as follows:
· Constitution of National Mission Authority (NMA) headed by the Prime Minister of India, in September, 2010, is at the apex of the NMEW
· National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW) functional with 31 gender experts
· 24 States have notified State Mission Authority (SMA)
· State Resource Centres for Women (SRCW) set up in 14 States
· Constitution of Inter Ministerial Co-ordination Committee (IMCC) to review and identify inter ministerial issues related to women requiring convergence on a continuous basis
· Constitution of Central Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister, Women and Child Development to monitor and assess the Mission’s progress and to ensure that objectives of the Mission are met
· Pilot Convergence models in Dist. Pali, Rajasthan since Sep 17,2011 showing impressive results
· 2 Smaller scale Pilot convergence models launched in Dist. Kamrup, Assam
· Six Regional Conferences held with all the States & UTs governments during the months of February April 2012
· Action Plan being prepared for 2013-2014
· PSK in Dist Jaintia hills, Meghalaya: Recruitment in process
· 11 thematic Pilots in collaboration with Partner Ministries, State Govts, CSOs launched on 18th Aug, 2012 which are showing progress
· Gender Convergence Officer (GCO) appointed by 8 Partner Ministries
· Charter of Collaboration signed and thematic convergence projects announced with eight partner organizations on 14th November, 2012 during the Opening Ceremony of Vatsalya Mela, 2012 with UNDP (India), UN Women, South Asia Regional Office, UNESCO, (India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka), CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd., Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, IIT Delhi, FICCI – FLO & Women Power Connect.
· Consultation on Valuation of Women’s Unpaid Work organized in November, 2012 with eminent economists, gender experts and representatives from 14 partner Ministries.
· A Series of three consultations held on “Designing a Social Inclusion Plan for Socially Marginalized and Excluded Population”
· NMEW participation in Vatsalya Mela, 2012 and grand success of unique model of community participation named Nari ki Choupal
· Literacy Mission Preraks, Anganwadi, ASHA, Poorna Shakti Kendra village co-ordinators and other grass root level workers to be termed as Ahimsa Messengers to work towards prevention of violence against women
· Successful completion of Orientation programme for Nodal Officers of SRCW in December, 2012
· A Stakeholder Dialogue held in collaboration with UN Women and Planning Commission on “No Policy is Gender Neutral” and Launch of 8 Policy Briefs in December, 2012.
Collaborating with 5 Partner Ministries:
Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD)
· Research Study of MGNREGA to identify low work participation of women
· Visit to Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) districts of Kerala & Andhra Pradesh to study best practices for convergence
Ministry of Labour & Employment (MOLE)
· Two joint studies on “ Skill development programmes for women with different Ministries & their impact on women’s employment and identifying gaps”
· Identifying constraints and barriers in women availing and accessing vocational training institutes under DGE&T along with identification of new trades”
Ministry of Law & Justice (MoLJ)
· Action Research proposal on Access to Justice by Women in 7 districts in 5 North Eastern States to which either Schedule 6 Applies/ excluded under Article 371 A of the constitution
Ministry of Human Resources Development (MoHRD)
· Utilize the “Mahila Samakya” platform for building capacities of women
· Recommendations of study on “An assessment of convergence of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with selected Central and State Schemes” in Mewat district of Haryana shared with MHRD and Govt. of Harayana
· In-house Communication Needs Assessment Study of Saakshar Bharat, a centrally sponsored scheme of Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to find out the gaps in the current communication strategy being used by the MHRD for the Saakshar Bharat programme and to suggest a more efficient and effective communication strategy for the same, so that more women at the grassroots enrol for the programme and are benefitted.
Ministry of Panchyati Raj (MOPR)
· Pilots to address Declining Child Sex Ration in 12 gender critical districts. Recruitment process of Gender Convergence Officers for implementation of these projects is currently going on.
Action Research Studies:
· Completion of a study to develop a ‘Communication Charter’ based on Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) Study with Breakthrough in order to chalk out a cohesive communication strategy to address the problem of female foeticide or ‘Sex Selective Elimination’ (SSE).
· Study on Access and Utilization of Government Schemes in Pali, Rajasthan
· Study with Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LC) on monitoring and evaluation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Best Practices Manual to be launched in December
· Review of concurrent evaluation reports on Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) to strengthen the program
· Study on ‘Accessibility and utilization of basic services rendered to women of SC/ST community to meet their Rights and Entitlements. (Avinashlingam University, Coimbatore)
· Gender Atlas of India: A Geo-spatial Perspective (by Delhi University)
· Women and Multiple Vulnerabilities in an area of unrest: Key issues and challenges of Tribal women in Dumka and Jamtara of Jharkhand” (by PRIA)
· In-house assessment of Labour Laws and impact on female workforce participation
· Critical gender concerns of MGNREGA- Review of Research Studies
Activities in the Pipe Line
1. Scaling up the Poorna Shakti Kendra (PSK) model in 20 districts across the country and roll out 50 thematic pilots across the country. The thematic models will cover a range of issues concerning women, however major focus will be on addressing the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR). Districts showing declining CSR as per census 2011 will be targeted for focussed interventions.
2. A mass movement to address Violence Against Women called “Ahimsa Messenger”, using the platform of convergence projects, both the PSK models and thematic pilots will be initiated. The mass movement in coordination with multiple stakeholders will involve men, women and young persons at the grassroots levels to undertake the mission of spreading the message about domestic violence, dowry, female foeticide, child marriage, trafficking of women and girls for commercial sexual and other forms of exploitation.
3. Raise important issues concerning women in the State Mission Authority (SMA), under the Chief Ministers of respective States to bring about Policy and Programmatic changes as shown by the States of Goa and West Bengal.
4. Strengthen and build capacities of the State Resource Centres for Women (SRCW) to develop detailed Action Plan for the activities in the State.
5. Implement initiatives for training PSK coordinators on Legal Rights of Women in 150 Gram Panchayats of Dist Pali, Rajasthan.
Achievements under the IGMSY and SABLA schemes:
Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)
· Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) a Conditional Cash Transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme introduced in the year 2010-11.
· The Scheme envisages providing cash directly to P&L women during pregnancy and lactation in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions. The scheme addresses short term income support objectives with long term objective of behaviour and attitudinal change and also attempts to partly compensate for wage loss to Pregnant & lactating women both prior to and after delivery of the child.
· The beneficiraies are paid Rs. 4000/ in three instalments between the second trimester of pregnancy till the child attains the age of 6 months on fulfilling specific conditions related to maternal and child health (All Government/PSUs (Central & State) employees are excluded from the scheme as they are entitled for paid maternity leave).
· Anganwadi worker (AWW) and Anganwadi helper (AWH) receives an incentive of Rs.200/- and Rs. 100/- respectively per P & L woman after all the due cash transfers to the beneficiary are complete.
· In 2012-13, as per information furnished by States/UTs, progressive achievement up to 30.09.2012 is 2.6 lakh.
Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – Sabla
· Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for empowerment of adolescent girls – Sabla was introduced on a pilot basis in 2010 and is operational in 205 selected districts across the country. Sabla aims at all-round development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years with a focus on all out-of-school adolescent girls. The scheme has two major components Nutrition and Non Nutrition Component.
· Nutrition of 600 calories and 18-20 grams of protein per beneficiary per day for 300 days in a year is given to 11-14 years out of school girls and to all girls of 14 -18 years (out of school and in school girls).
· In the Non Nutrition Component, out of school adolescent girls of 11-18 years are being provided IFA supplementation, health check-up & referral services, nutrition & health education, ARSH counseling/guidance on family welfare, life skill education, guidance on accessing public services and vocational training (only 16-18 year old adolescent girls).
· Against the budgetary outlay of Rs 517 crore for 2012-13, total releases made to the States/UTS is Rs. 265 crore .
· Against the target of one crore beneficiaries for nutrition component under Sabla in 2012-13, as per information furnished by States/UTs, progressive achievement up to 30.09.2012 is 83.14 lakh.
The other achievements and initiatives taken by the M/O WCD are as follows:
1. Constitution of the High Level Committee to study the Status of Women
The Government constituted a High Level Committee on Status of Women in February 2012 to undertake a comprehensive study to understand the current status of women and evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of women’s needs. The Committee is mandated to give its recommendations in two year’s time.
2. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012
The constitutional guarantee of gender equality includes protection from sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity. To provide a safe and secure environment to women at the workplace, a Bill was piloted by this Ministry for protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 3rd September, 2012. The Bill is now expected to be taken up for consideration and passing in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget Session, 2013.
The Bill once enacted, would improve women’s participation in the workforce resulting in their empowerment and inclusive growth.
3. Amendments in the Indecent Representation of Women ( Prohibition ) Act (IRWA), 1986
This Ministry has proposed amendments in the IRWA, 1986 to cover newer forms of communication such as internet and satellite based communication, multi-media messaging, cable television etc and to make the Act more effective by enhancing the quantum of punishment for violating provisions of the Act. The Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in the Winter Session of the Parliament.
4. Measures taken to address problems of declining child sex ratio
The Ministry celebrated the National Girl Child Day on 24.1.2012, during which inter alia a Panel discussion on reasons for and measures to be taken for arresting the declining child sex ratio, measured as the number of girl children in the age group of 0 to 6 years as compared to boys, was held.
The Ministry set up a Sectoral Innovation Council in 2012 to suggest measures to improve CSR, which has since given its report.
Recently the Ministry has also set up an Inter-Ministerial Working Group to draw up a National Plan of Action for improving CSR in a time bound manner, which had its first meeting on 26.12.2012.
5. Core Group on Child Marriage
A Core Group on Child Marriage was set up by this Ministry in February 2012 under whose oversight, a National Consultation on Child Marriage was held in May 2012. The Core Group has,in December 2012,come out with a draft National Strategy to address the problem of Child Marriage.
6. Initiatives on Prevention of Trafficking and Related matters
The Central Advisory Committee on Trafficking held a meeting in May 2012.
A number of meetings of the Project Sanctioning Committee to clear the pendency of project proposals under Ujjawala Scheme were held, including through video conferencing.
The Ministry proactively filed an application, [in Criminal Appeal Case No 135/20101- Budhadev Karmaskar case] for modification of Supreme Court panel term of reference that sought to make conditions “conducive” for sex workers who continue voluntarily in the profession, and got a clarification from the Apex Court that the Supreme court is not in favour of legalising prostitution.
The Ministry set up an Inter-ministerial Group to suggest amendments in Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956. The IMG has submitted its report on 7 December 2012.
7. Gender Responsive Parliament
In September 2012, for the first time, this Ministry has suggested a definition of Gender Sensitive Parliament as input of India for further consideration and debate by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.