Women and Child Development–Review 2013

The following have been the significant achievements of the Ministry in 2013.

I.                  WELFARE OF WOMEN: LEGISLATIVE AND PROGRAMMATIC MEASURES

A.    Legislative Measures:

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:

·         Sexual Harassment at the workplace is a violation of women’s right to gender equality, life and liberty. It creates an insecure and hostile work environment, which discourages women’s participation in work, thereby adversely affecting their economic empowerment and the goal of inclusive growth.

·         The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came into force with effect from 9th December 2013.  The Act seeks to cover all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized.

·         The Act under Section 4 and Section 6 creates a redressal mechanism in the form of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Local Complaints Committee (LCC). All workplaces employing 10 or more than 10 workers are mandated under the Act to constitute an ICC. Complaints from workplaces employing less than 10 workers or when the complaint is against the employer will be looked into by the LCC.  A  District Officer notified under the Act will constitute the LCC at the district level.

·         The Act mandates that the Committee shall complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be and they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days.

·         The Act under Section 19 casts a responsibility on every employer to create an environment which is free from sexual harassment. Under it employers are required to organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees about the provision of this legislation and display notices regarding the constitution of Internal Committee, penal consequences of sexual harassment etc.

·         All Internal Complaints Committees are required to submit Annual reports to the employer who in turn will submit it to the district officer. All Local Complaints Committee shall submit their annual report to the district officer. The district officers will submit the report annually to the State Governments.

B. Programmatic Measures:

1.      Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), a Conditional Cash Transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women to better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers. It is being implemented initially on pilot basis in 53 selected districts using the platform of ICDS.

The Scheme envisages providing cash directly to pregnant and lactating women during pregnancy and lactation in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions. It would address short term income support objectives with long term objective of behavioural and attitudinal change. The scheme attempts to partly compensate for wage loss to Pregnant & lactating women both prior to and after delivery of the child.

Pregnant women of 19 years of age and above for first two live births are entitled for benefits under the scheme. All Government/PSUs (Central & State) employees are excluded from the scheme as they are entitled for paid maternity leave. The beneficiaries are paid Rs.6000/- in two equal installments per pregnant and lactating women on fulfilling specific conditions related to maternal and child health to partly compensation for wage loss to mothers/women during pregnancy and period of lactation. The cash incentives through provision of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) would, not only, contribute to better enabling environment but also encourage and promote health and nutrition seeking behaviour. The scheme is now covered under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme and under which 16 districts have been included under Phase-I and Phase-II of the implementation.

As per provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013, the Ministry has reviewed the entitlement of maternity benefits of IGMSY beneficiaries in 53 districts from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 6000 which is effective from 5th July, 2013 and accordingly letter has been issued to all States/UTs on 27-09-2013. With regard to universalization of the scheme which will involve expansion of the Scheme from 53 districts to all districts in the country in a phase manner, a detailed proposal (EFC note) is under examination in the Ministry.

2.      RMK: Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (National Credit Fund for Women) was set up in 1993 with an initial corpus of  Rs. 31 crore. The principal corpus as on 1.4.2013 is Rs. 100 crore. 

The main objective of RMK is to provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly credit delivery process and thereby bringing about their socio-economic development.

Interest Rate   –   The following policy decisions were taken during the year in favour of poor women:

            i.        The loan amount against Loan Promotion Schemes was enhanced from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh.

          ii.        Similarly loan limit under Main Loan Scheme has been increased from Rs. 300 lakh to Rs. 600 lakh.

        iii.        Loan limit under Housing Loan Scheme was increased from Rs 50 thousand to Rs. 1 lakh.

        iv.        Interest Rate from 8 % reduced to 6 % on reducing balance for NGO/VOs.  Similarly the interest charged by NGOs/VOs for the SHG members reduced from 18 % to 14 %.

Achievements since inception

The performance of RMK since its inception till 31.3.2013:

a. Loans Sanctioned    Rs. 349.95 crore

b. Loans Released    Rs. 286.90 crore

c. No. of  Women Beneficiaries  727,159 crore

3. Swadhar – A Scheme for Women in Different Circumstances

Swadhar Scheme was launched by the Ministry during the year 2001-02 for the benefit of women in difficult circumstances with the following objectives:

·     To provide primary need of shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women/girls living in difficult circumstances who are without any social and economic support;

·     To provide emotional support and counseling to rehabilitate them socially and economically through education, awareness etc.;

·     To arrange for specific clinical, legal and other support for women/girls in need; and

·     To provide for help line or other facilities to such women in distress.

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  Target Group/Beneficiaries

·     Widows deserted by their families and relatives;

·     Women prisoners released from jail and without family support;

·     Women survivors of natural disaster who have been rendered homeless;

·     Trafficked women/girls rescued or runaway from brothels

·     Women victims of terrorist/extremist violence who are without any family support and without any economic means for survival;

·     Mentally challenged women (except for the psychotic categories   who require care in specialized environment in mental hospitals) who are without any support of family or relatives.

·     Women with HIV/AIDS deserted by their family and without social/economic support.

4.      Ujjawala

The scheme was introduced in Dec, 2007 and is being implemented mainly through the Non-Government Organisations. It comprises five components:

1.      Prevention, which envisages formation of Community Vigilance Groups/ adolescences groups, awareness and sensitization of stake holders and preparation of IEC material, holding workshop etc.

2.      Rescue, safe withdrawal of the victim from the place of exploitation.

3.      Rehabilitation, which includes providing safe shelter for victims with basic inputs of food, clothing, counseling, medical care, legal aid, vocational training and income generation activities etc.

4.      Reintegration, which includes restoring the victim into the family/community (if so she desires) and follow up.

5.      Repatriation, to provide support to cross-border victims for their safe repartition to their country of origin.

Since 2007, 273 projects including 151 Rehabilitation Homes have been sanctioned under the Scheme spread over 23 States.

5.      Working Women Hostel (WWH)

            Under the Scheme of Working Women Hostel financial assistance is provided for construction/ running of Hostel in rented premises for those working women who may be single, widowed, divorced, separated, married but whose husband or immediate family does not reside in the same area and for those women who are under training for job. Provision of day care centre for children of the inmates of the Hostel is an important aspect of the scheme. Working Women are entitled to hostel facilities provided their gross income does not exceed Rs. 30,000/- consolidated (gross) per month in metropolitan cities, or Rs. 25,000/- consolidated (gross) per month, in any other place. When the income of any working women already residing in a hostel exceeds the prescribed limits, she will be required to vacate the hostel within a period of two months of crossing the income limit.

6.      Short Stay Homes (SSH)

The Scheme of Short Stay Home was launched by erstwhile Department of Women and Child Development (now MWCD) in 1969. This scheme was handed over for implementation to the Central Social Welfare Board during 1999-2000.  The Scheme is implemented through registered voluntary organizations having experience of handling the issues related to women and girls. The budget under scheme varies as per the categorization of cities. Enhancement of grant @ 10% for “Maintenance of inmates” every year and 15% for “Rent” provision after completion of every three years, is provided in the budget plan of the scheme. The period of stay of inmates normally extends from 6 months to 3 years.

7.      Family Counselling Centres

 

The Scheme of Family Counselling Centre was introduced by C.S.W.B in 1983. The centers provide counselling, referral and rehabilitative services to the women and children who are victims of atrocities, family maladjustments and social  ostracism and also provide crisis intervention and trauma counselling in case of natural disasters. The centers also create awareness and mobilize public opinion on social issues affecting status of women. The FCCs work in close collaboration with the legal administration, police, courts, free legal aids cells, medical and psychiatric institutions, vocational training centers and short stay homes.

8.      Awareness Generation Programme

The Awareness Generation Project for rural & poor women is one of the major development programmes of the Central Social Welfare Board. The Scheme was reformulated in 1986-87 in order to enlarge the scope of the scheme by incorporating components leading to enhancement of socio-economic status and renamed as Awareness Generation Project.  During the year 2012-

9.       Condensed Courses Of Education For Adult Women

The Scheme of Condensed Courses of Education was initiated in the year 1958 by CSWB to cater to the needs of adult girls/women who could not join mainstream education system or who were drop outs from formal schools. The scheme aims to provide educational opportunities to girls/women above the age of 15 years along with additional inputs of skill development/vocational training.

10.  Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme

With increased opportunities for employment for women and the need to supplement household income more and more women are entering the job market. With the breaking up of joint family system and the increased phenomenon of nuclear families, working women need support in terms of quality, substitute care for their young children while they are at work. Crèche and day care services are not only required by working mothers but also women belonging to poor families, who require support and relief for childcare as they struggle to cope with burden of activities, within and outside the home.

The present Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme provides assistance to NGOs for running crèches for infants (0-6 years) and assistance is provided to ensure sleeping facilities, health-care, supplementary nutrition, immunization etc., for running a creche for 25 infants for eight hours i.e. from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

11.  Innovative Scheme

CSWB has many structured programmes and schemes for the development of women and children. But there are several problems which are not covered within the existing programmes and schemes. Hence CSWB initiated the programme of Innovative Scheme to cover the left out areas related to such groups of women and children. Several projects under this programme are being run for the welfare of prostitutes, rag-pickers and other such sections of society. Apart from above, Campaigns have been launched to create awareness against drug de-addiction, alcoholism etc. Counselling programmes for the school girls, who go in depression due to future career prospects, and consequently attempt suicide, needed special attention has been given coverage under Innovative Programme. Special programmes are also taken up in the areas affected by natural calamities like Flood, earthquake etc.

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12.  STEP

Ministry of Women & Child Development has been implementing the Scheme Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) for women to ensure sustainable employment and income generation for margininalized and asset-less rural and urban women across the country. This scheme is a Central Sector Scheme.

13.  Women Empowerment and Livelihood Programme in Mid Gangetic Plain-‘PRIYADARSHINI’

             The Ministry is administering IFAD assisted pilot project namely Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme in the Mid Gangetic Plains “Priyadarshini” in 13 blocks spread over 5 districts in Uttar Pradesh and 2 districts in Bihar. The Programme aims at holistic empowerment (economic and social) of vulnerable groups of women and adolescent girls in the project area through formation of Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) and promotion of improved livelihood opportunities. Over 1,08,000 households are to be covered under the project and 12,000 SHGs will be formed during the project period ending 2016-17. Though the focus of project is on livelihood enhancement, the beneficiaries will be empowered to address their, political, legal and health problems issues through rigorous capacity building.

            The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the lead programme agency for the implementation. The programme envisages giving training to the SHG members on topics such as income generation and allied activities, marketing of products and social issues etc.

            II.               CHILD WELFARE: LEGISLATIVE AND PROGRAMMATIC MEASURES

A.         Legislative Measures:

1.                      Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012:

·         Model Guidelines under the POSCO Act, 2012 were issued by the Ministry on 18th September, 2013 under Section 39 of the POSCO Act.  State governments are required to make guidelines for the use of professionals to assist the child in pre-trial and trial stage.  On request made by several state governments, the MWCD prepared model guidelines through consultations.

·         Five Regional conferences on Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 were held from July to September, 2013 to spread awareness on the Act.  The conferences covered all States/UTs.  The participants including officers from Women Child Department, Health Department, Education Departments, SCPCRs, State Judicial Academy, Police Academy, CWC members and officers  of Prosecution Administrative Academy.

2.                      Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006:

·         Government of India has brought in a more progressive Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 that includes punitive measures against those who perform, permit and promote child marriage. This Act came into effect in November, 2007.As per Section 16(1) of the Act, the State Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint for the whole State, or such part thereof as may be specified in that Notification, an officer or officers to be known as Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPO) having jurisdiction over the area or areas specified in the notification. Under Section 19(1) the State Government may, by Notification in the Official Gazette, make Rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been pursuing with the State Governments for appointment of CMPOs and Notification of Rules. As per information received from States/UTs, so far, 20 States and 5 UTs have framed Rules and20 States and 6 UTs have appointed Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPOs).

·         B.     Programmatic Measures:

1.       Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India and represents one of the world’s largest and unique programmes for early childhood care and development. It is the foremost symbol of country’s commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality on the other.  The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Strengthening and Restructuring of ICDS approved for 12th Five Year Plan

Over 35 years of its operation, ICDS has expanded from 33 community development blocks and 4891 AWCs to become universal through 7076 approved projects  and 14 lakh AWCs across the country with final phase of universalization approved in 2008-09. The rapid universalization, however, resulted into some programmatic, management and institutional gaps that needed redressal.

Acknowledging  the several gaps and challenges, Government has recently approved strengthening and restructuring of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme with a budget allocation of Rs. 1,23,580 crore during 12th Five Year Plan. The administrative approvals  in this regard have since  been issued to the States/UTs on 22nd October,2012.

It has been decided to roll out restructured and strengthened ICDS in three phases covering 200 high burden districts in the first year (2012-13) with 41 districts from Uttar Pradesh; additional 200 districts in second year (2013-14)  including districts from special category States and NER; and  in remaining districts in third year (2014-15)

The restructured ICDS will bring more detailed micro-planning and would increase accountability of states through annual programme implementation plan and by setting ICDS in mission mode.

Ø2.      Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)

Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing this comprehensive Centrally Sponsored Scheme since 2009-10 through the State Government/UT Administrations on predefined cost sharing financial pattern. The objectives of the Scheme are to contribute to the improvement in the well being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as reduction of vulnerabilities to situation and actions that leads to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from parent. All the States/UTs  have signed the MOU for implementation of ICPS.

Financial assistance under the Scheme is also provided for setting up of statutory bodies under the JJ Act namely, (a) Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs). As reported by State Governments/UT Administrations, 619 CWCs and 608 JJBs have so far been set up across the country. Against the allocated BE of Rs.300.00 Crore for 2013-14, an amount of Rs.129.66 Crore has been sanctioned/ released in the second quarter up to September, 2013.

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3.       Scheme for the Welfare of Working Children in Need of Care and Protection

The scheme is being implemented since January, 2005 with the objective of providing non-formal education, vocational training etc. To working children to facilitate their entry/re-entry into mainstream education in cases where they have either not attended any learning system or where, for some reason, their education has been discontinued, with a view to prevent their future exploitation.

Financial assistance is provided under this scheme to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for setting up of composite centres of working children exclusively in those areas which have not already been covered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment under their schemes, namely, National Child Labour Project and Indo-US Project. At present Ministry is assisting 116 projects of 100 children each under this scheme in 14 States/UTs.

4.      Sabla- ‘Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)

The ‘Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)–‘Sabla’, a Centrally-sponsored scheme introduced in the year 2010-11 on a pilot basis. Sabla aims at all-round development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years (with a focus on out of school girls) and is being implemented in 205 districts from all the States/UTs.

The scheme has two major components: Nutrition and Non Nutrition Component. While the nutrition component aims at improving the health & nutrition status of the adolescent girls the non-nutrition component addresses the developmental needs including  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).

III.           NATIONAL MISSION FOR EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN (NMEW)

Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Ministry of Women and Child Development, a National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW) has been set up with eight functional domains, namely, Poverty Alleviation, Social Empowerment, Health and Nutrition, Gender Budgeting, Gender Rights, Vulnerable and Marginalised Groups, Media and Communication and Information Technology. It acts as a technical secretariat that deals with various critical issues related to women and facilitates inter-sectoral convergence across different Ministries. It also provides technical support to the State Resource Centres for Women (SRCW) constituted in different States as part of the Mission.

·         The State Mission Authority (SMA), which is the highest policy making body at the state level for NMEW, has been constituted in 27 States and 5 UTs. The SRCWs which are fully funded by the Centre and responsible for planning, execution and monitoring of the mission’s vision and activities at the state levels, have been set up in 26 States and 4 UTs. State Action Plans have been prepared with technical support from NRCW and approved at the level of the CMs, focusing on issues like adverse child sex ratio, violence against women, trafficking, political empowerment, prevention of child marriage etc.

·                 Innovative convergence projects on issues such as Child Sex Ratio (CSR), Access to Justice, Violence against Women, behaviour change etc. in association with Partner Ministries such as Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MOPR), Ministry of Law and Justice (MOLJ), and Civil Society Organisations have been initiated. The NRCW has also anchored the process of preparation and development of the National Plan of Action (NPoA) for improving child sex ratio which included organizing a series of Consultations nationwide, facilitation & preparation for the working group meetings, preparation of agenda/presentations/reports/minutes etc. 52 Thematic Convergence Projects on issues critical to women have been approved for implementation during the current financial year. The implementing partners of these projects will be various States, UTs as well as CSOs/NGOs.

·         Ahimsa Messenger, a programme to combat violence against women was kicked off on 31st August, 2013 with a large scale mobilisation of adolescent girls, has been anchored by the Mission through development of Training Modules, IEC kit, training & dissemination strategy for its operationalization on a nation-wide canvass.

A number of Manuals, Compendium and Research Studies with a thrust on convergence of efforts towards holistic empowerment of women have also been developed and undertaken. Similarly, participatory community engagement tools have been developed, demonstrated and replicated for engaging youth, women and girls and others for advocacy and awareness raising on critical women’s issues through initiatives like Nari ki Chaupal, Beti Janmotsav etc.

IV.           NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC COOPERATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT (NIPCCD)

The Training in the areas related to Women & Child Development and Child Rights & Child Protection constitute the major activities of the Institute. During the year 2013-14, the Institute organised a total of 255 (up to December 2013) training programmes which were attended by 7977 participants.  Out of these, 1146 programmes were organised on issues relating to Women and Child Development, including Child Protection and Juvenile Justice Act and 109 training programmes for the functionaries of ICDS which were attended by 4997 and 2980 participants, respectively.

of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 was organised by Regional Centre, Bengaluru in collaboration with Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy, Chennai

·         The ninth batch of Advanced Diploma in Child Guidance and Counselling commenced from August, 2013.  The Diploma has now been affiliate

V.               GENDER BUDGETING INITIATIVES AND ACHIEVEMENTS

            Gender Budgeting (GB) was adopted by the Government of India in 2005 which entails maintaining a gender perspective at all stages of formulation of policies, schemes, programmes, implementation, monitoring, review and impact analysis. GB is a process to help translate Government’s policy commitments on women’s empowerment into budgetary allocations. Gender budgeting is being used as a tool for gender mainstreaming and ensuring gender equity across the States.

Achievements in Gender Budgeting:

Draft Gender Audit Guidelines formulated – In order to take forward the process of Gender Budgeting and as part fulfillment of the 12th Five Year Plan commitments, the Ministry has formulated draft Gender Audit Guidelines for undertaking gender audit of major programmes, schemes and policies of Government of India. The same has been sent to the Planning Commission and is under consideration of the Planning Commission for finalisation.

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