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New paradigm shift in India’s welfare programmes

The government will focus on welfare measures in a broader perspective than before, said a statement from the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The paradigm shift in its approach to social sector issues, which were earlier only welfare oriented, will now look at holistic empowerment, especially of the marginalized.  The emphasis continues to be on empowerment and development of women, adolescent girls and children in all spheres of life.

Here is a list of all the welfare programmes at a glance and the new approach:

ICDS, Malnutrition & Early Childhood Care & Education

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: This was launched in 1975 for holistic development of children below 6 years of age and for proper nutrition and health education of pregnant and lactating mothers with 33 projects and 4891 anganwadi centres (AWCs).  It has been continuously expended to uncovered areas and has now been universalized with the Government of India cumulatively approving 7076 projects and 14 lakh AWCs including 20,000 anganwadis ‘on-demand’.

To fulfill the commitment of the Government to universalize the ICDS Scheme, it has been expanded in three phases in the years 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2008-09. Government of India has sanctioned 7015 ICDS Projects and 13.67 lakh AWCs out of which 6771 ICDS Projects and 12.95 lakh AWCs are operational as on date. The services are currently being provided to 959.22 lakh beneficiaries.  Number of AWCs and Projects increased by 53, 248 and 52 respectively during the year.

Multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burden districts:

MWCD has prepared a draft framework of action for operationalization of multi-sectoral programmes in 200 high burden districts following four regional workshops. District level consultations have also been held in this regard in Warangal in Andhra Pradesh and Alwar in Rajasthan. The Scheme largely based on convergence and gap filling and district plan of action mode is likely to be rolled out by May, 2012 as per timelines. Detailed cost implication is likely to be Rs. 5 crore per district per annum. This programme could attempt to bring a comprehensive and collective action plan at state & district level in 200 high burden districts to combat the burden of Malnutrition in these districts.

2. A. Introducing a nationwide information, education and communication campaign against malnutrition

One of the four key decisions of Prime Minister’s Council on India’s Nutrition challenges is to launch a nationwide information, education and communication (IEC) campaign against malnutrition to address issues of status of women, care of pregnant mothers and children under two years of age, breastfeeding and the importance of balanced nutrition, health, hygiene and sanitation. The IEC campaign is being coordinated by Ministry of Women & Child Development, in consultation with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Planning Commission.

B.        Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

A core committee of experts in early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) has been formed to formulate a national policy and curriculum framework on ECCE. After holding regional consultations and in depth discussions with other stakeholders, the committee has evolved a draft national policy on ECCE, national curriculum Framework and Quality Standards for ECCE. This would be operationalised through the ECCD Council, which is proposed. The Strengthened and restructured ICDS would reposition the AWC as the Early Childhood Development Centre, with the orientation of an enabling environment for promotion of early childhood development with focus on delivering quality ECCE. A separate and appropriate framework of action would be brought about in this regard.

C.        World Bank assisted “ICDS Systems Strengthening & Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP)” :

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has formulated a specific project on ICDS titled, “ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project” for seeking financial assistance from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank. The project is proposed to be implemented in 162 districts having higher proportion of child under-nutrition across 8 States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh). The project has been designed to strengthen the ICDS systems for effective programme implementation in selected States/districts through techno-managerial support and decentralized district based planning in ICDS. The project is one of the steps for the overall ICDS strengthening and restructuring proposal of the Ministry.

The Ministry is now in the process of expediting the approval of the project by the competent authority. It is expected that project will be made effective sometimes during the last quarter of 2011-12.

D.        Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY):

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is a Centrally Sponsored Insurance Scheme with cost sharing pattern of 75:25 between the Government of India and the State Governments/UTs.

The proposal has been initiated on the recommendation of the National Social Security Board under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.  The Scheme of RSBY has been extended to many workers in the unorganized sector such as Domestic workers, Auto Rickshaw drivers, Rickshaw pullers, Safai Karamcharis and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Workers. The subject proposal is for the extension of RSBY to the Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

E.        Increased focus on issues relating to Malnutrition :

The problem of malnutrition is complex, multi-dimensional and inter-generational in nature and cannot be tackled by a single sector / programme alone. The determinants of malnutrition include household food insecurity; illiteracy especially in women; poor access to health services; lack of availability of safe drinking water; poor sanitation and environmental conditions and low purchasing power etc. The major thrust was given to issues pertaining to malnutrition with emphasis on a convergent and multi-sectoral approach involving all other line Ministries such as Drinking Water & Sanitation, MoRD, Panchayati Raj, MHRD, Agriculture etc.

II.        Rajiv Gandhi for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls’ (RGSEAG) – SABLA

The scheme is being implemented in 200 districts across the country on a pilot basis.  In the remaining districts, Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) continues to be operational as before.  However, SABLA has completely replaced Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls (NPAG) as all districts of NPAG are now part of the SABLA.

2.         Sabla is being implemented through the State Governments/UTs with 100 percent financial assistance from the Central Government for all inputs other than nutrition provision for which 50% Central assistance to States is provided.  Anganwadi Centre is the focal point for the delivery of the services.  Sabla aims at an all-round development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years by making them self reliant by facilitating access to learning, health and nutrition through various interventions such as health, education, vocational training etc.

III.       Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)

IGMSY is a centrally Sponsored Scheme under which full grant-in-aid would be provided to State Governments/Union Territories. The Scheme envisages providing cash directly to P&L women in response to individual fulfilling specific conditions. The Scheme attempts to partly compensate for wage loss to P&L women both prior to and after delivery of the child. The Scheme will increase the demand for health services and promote recommended nutrition and health behaviours.

2.         A cash incentive of Rs. 4000/- is  provided under the Scheme to P&L women of 19 years of age and above, for the first two live births, subject to the woman fulfilling specific conditions relating to maternal child health and nutrition. All Government/PSUs (Central & State) employees are excluded from the Scheme as they are entitled for paid maternity leave. Cash incentive is provided in three installments, between the second trimesters of pregnancy till the infant completes 6 months of age through only bank/post office accounts.

3.         An incentive of Rs. 200/- per beneficiary for Anganwadi Workers and Rs. 100/- per beneficiary for Anganwadi Helpers is provided for in the Scheme so that they can be fully involved in motivating the women to participate in the Scheme.

IV.       Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011.

The main aim of the Bill is to address sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including child pornography.  It provides for establishment of special courts for trial of such offences.  The Bill defines offences, namely, penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual harassment and use of child for pornography.  The Bill provides for stringent punishment to offenders.  For speedy trail, the State Governments have been mandated to designate a Court of Session in each district, to be a Special Court to try offences under the Bill.  The other provisions of the Bill include child friendly court procedure, punishment for not reporting the offence to police or appropriate authority, and punishment for abetment and for making false complaint or false information.

V.        The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2000

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (JJ Act). During the year 2011, the JJ Act has been amended through Gazette notification dated 8th September, 2011.  The following amendment has been carried out in the JJ Act to remove discriminatory references against children under the Act having diseases such as leprosy, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, etc.

(i)         In the JJ Act, in Section 48, sub-section (2) has been omitted.

(ii)        For Section 58 of the JJ Act, the following Sections has been substituted, namely:-

Where it appears to the competent authority that any juvenile or child kept in a Special Home or an Observation Home or a Children’s Home or a Shelter Home or in an institution in pursuance of this Act, is a mentally ill person or addicted to alcohol or other drugs which lead to behavioural changes in a person, the competent authority may order his removal to a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Health Act, 1987 or the Rules made there under.

In case the juvenile or child had been removed to a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home under sub-section (1), the competent authority may, on the basis of the advice given in the certificate of discharge of the psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home, order to remove such juvenile or child to an Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts or similar centers maintained by the State Government for the mentally ill persons (including the persons addicted to any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance) and such removal shall be only for the period required for the in-patient treatment of such juvenile or child.

VI.       Integrated Child Protection Scheme (Icps)

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) from 2009-10 through State Governments/UT Administrations for the welfare and rehabilitation of children in conflict with law as well as children need of care and protection.

The objectives of the Scheme are (i) to provide safe and secure environment for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection; (ii) to reduce vulnerabilities to situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation; (iii) to bring focus on Non-institutional care; (iv) to develop a platform for partnership between Government & Civil Society; and (v) to establish convergence of services.

To bring a focus on child protection and create an environment conducive to their growth and development, ICPS envisages creation of a dedicated cadre of personnel in structure set up at State and district level.  So far 23 States have already set up State Child Protection Societies and District Children Protection Committees have been set up in 438 districts across 18 States.  ICPS has also given a fillip to establishment of Statutory structures under the JJ Act, namely Child Welfare Committees and  Juvenile Justice Boards, which have now been establishment in 548 and 561 districts respectively as against 211 and 240 before introduction of ICPS.  Approximately 1 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under ICPS in 2011.

VII.     Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers

Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers launched w.e.f. 1st January 2006 to provide day care facilities to children (age group of 0-6 years) of working mothers belonging to families whose monthly income is not more than Rs. 12,000/-.  The Scheme provides development services, i.e. supplementary nutrition, health care inputs like immunization, polio drops, basic health monitoring, and recreation to such children.

This scheme is presently being implemented through the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB), New Delhi, and Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), New Delhi.

A Committee had been set up by the Ministry to suggest changes in the scheme for improving its coverage and quality.  The Committee has suggested enhanced financial norms, stringent monitoring recommended fulfillment of certain preconditions before setting up of the crèches.  On recommendation of the Committee, 5 model crèches are being set up in Delhi on pilot basis with enhanced financial norms as per recommendations of the Committee for the remaining period of the current financial year with a view to see whether the revised norms are sufficient to provide better environment and facilities to the children in the crèches before new model is replicated or existing crèches are strengthened.

VIII.    National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW)

The National Mission for Empowerment of Women has been operationalized with the setting up of a Mission Directorate along with a National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development at the National level. NRCW has technical experts in eight domains: economic empowerment, social empowerment, health and nutrition, gender budgeting, gender laws and rights, marginal and vulnerable women, media and communication and I.T services and provide technical support to operationalize activities of the mission.

NMEW has developed a multi- pronged strategy to achieve its objectives based on discussion with sectoral experts as well as recommendations from the three consultative workshops with various stakeholders including government, civil society organizations and PRI (Panchayat Raj Institutions) leaders in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. The strategy focuses on Intervention at the policy level by reviewing studies/evaluations/impact assessment of programs/schemes for gender equality, strengthening the implementation and delivery mechanism and empowering women to demand their entitlements

IX.       Scheme for Working Women Hostel

In order to promote greater mobility of women in the employment market and to provide suitable, safe and inexpensive accommodation to women residing away from their hometowns to be able to work, Government of India is implementing since 1972-73 Scheme of Working Women Hostel as a Central Sector Plan Scheme. So far, 891 hostels have been sanctioned under the Scheme since inception in 1972-73, with a sanctioned capacity of about 66,299 women and 8532 children in the attached 323 Day Care Centres.

The Scheme of working women hostel has been revised with the aim to increase coverage, proper monitoring and utilization of public money. The objective of the Scheme is to provide safe and secure accommodation to the working women at affordable rate. In the revised scheme, apart from the provision of extending financial assistance for the construction of hostel building on public land, new components of grants-in-aid for maintenance, furnishing of hostel and cost of rent of the hostels running in rented building have also been envisaged.

Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in collaboration with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) has constructed a 500 bedded working women hostel with 176 living rooms along-with Kitchen, dining and common area at Jasola (Behind Apollo Hospital) to provide a safe and secure accommodation to women and girls of North Eastern Region.  The hostel has been inaugurated on 8th September, 2011 and handed over to YWCA.

X.  Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme

This is a centrally sponsored scheme and provides training for skill up-gradation to poor and assetless women in the traditional sectors of agriculture, animal husbandry, diary, fisheries, handlooms, handcrafts, khadi and village industries, sericulture, social forestry and waste land development.

XI.  Swadhar Greh

Swadhar Scheme and SSH are being implemented with similar objective and for same target group.  Now these two existing schemes i.e. Swadhar and Short Stay Home have been merged in to a new scheme ‘Swadhar Greh’ with revised financial norms in order to reach out to those women who are victims of unfortunate circumstances and are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity.  Under the new Scheme, sufficient financial assistance under each component of the scheme will be provided to the implementing agencies so that the day to day requirement of the intimates of the home could be fulfilled easily.  The envisaged coverage of the revised scheme is all 641 districts of the country.

XII. Gender Budgeting

Gender Budgeting (GB) is a tool for gender mainstreaming in all government policies, programmes and schemes. MWCD has been engaged in conducting a number of trainings, workshops, one to one interactions/discussions and development of resource material to take GB forward.  In the year 2011-12, till December end 2011, MWCD had organized 14 trainings/workshops for Central and State Government officers and other stakeholders.

An important tool of GB is the Gender Budget Statement which serves as a reporting mechanism and provides an indication of the funds flowing to women. The magnitude of GB allocations as a percentage of total budget as reflected in the GB Statement went up from 2.79 percent in 2005-06 to 6.22 percent in 2011-12.

Since Gender Audit is of utmost importance to identify the gaps in the Government policies, programmes, schemes and to assess the impact of gender budgeting interventions, a brainstorming workshop was organized by MWCD to develop gender audit guidelines. A working group has been formed to develop these guidelines.

XIII. National Girl Child Day, 2011

The National Girl Child Day is on 24th January and was celebrated on 21st January, 2011. The theme for the year was empowering of the Adolescent girls (AGs). The issues and challenges facing Adolescent girls were discussed in which eminent panelists having experts in health, nutrition, education and socio-legal empowerment made presentation which was followed up by an interactive session.

XIV.  UJJAWALA

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

i)          Prevention, which consists of formation of community vigilance groups/adolescents groups, awareness and sensitization of important functionaries like police, community leaders and preparation of IEC material, holding workshops, etc.

ii)         Rescue, safe withdrawal of the victim from the place of exploitation.

iii)        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.

iv)        Reintegration, which includes restoring the victim into the family/community (if she so desires) and the accompanying costs.

v)         Repatriation, to provide support to cross-border victims for their safe repatriation to their country of origin.

From January 2011 to first week of December 2011, 185 new projects of Ujjawala Scheme have been considered and 53 projects have been approved   by the Project Sanctioning Committee.

So for 162 projects including 81 Rehabilitation Homes have been sanctioned, spread over 17 States.

XV.     Dhanalakshmi – A Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme for Girl Child

A new pilot Scheme Dhanalakshmi   was launched on 03rd March, 2008

Objective of the Scheme

· Provide a set of staggered financial incentives for families to encourage them to retain the girl child and educate her.

· Change the attitudinal mindset of the family towards the girl, by looking upon the girl as an asset rather than a liability since her very existence has led to cash inflow to the family.

Cash transfers are made under the Scheme to the family of the girl child (preferably the mother) on fulfilling following conditions:

·         Birth registration of the girl child
·         Progress of immunization
·         Full immunization
·         Enrolment to school and retention in school.

“Dhanalakshmi” is being implemented in 11 Blocks across seven States on pilot basis:

The Scheme is being implemented by the State Government through District Authorities.

XVI.    Women Welfare

In order to address the problems faced for women, this Ministry has arranged two major conferences on issues and challenges for Development of Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribes Women & Children on 18-19 January, 2011 (for SC Women & Children) and 30-31st May, 2011 (for ST Women & Children).  A synopsis of both the conferences are given hereunder:

(i) A two day conference `Issues & Challenges for Development of Scheduled Caste Women & Children was organized on 18-19 Jan., 2011 at Vigyan Bhavan. There was wide participation from various stakeholders including Central Government Ministries, State Governments, experts and representative of civil society organizations. The conference focused upon social empowerment of SC women and children by improving their access to health and nutrition, education, housing and living conditions; and economic empowerment by enhancing opportunities for development and livelihoods in agriculture and non-agriculture sector. Issues relating to manual scavenging and security & protection from atrocities were the other areas of focus. The Conference made a number of recommendations which were forwarded to Ministries concerned with the request to place them before the Working Group who may examine them for inclusion in the 12th Plan.

(ii)  A two day Conference on ‘Issues & Challenges for Development of Scheduled Tribe Women & Children’ was organized on 30-31st May 2011 at Vigyan Bhavan. There was wide participation from various stakeholders including Central Government Ministries, State Governments, experts and, NGOs. The Conference focused upon the various issues e.g Atrocities (physical, mental and Sexual Oppression); Exploitation; PESA, 1996 (State laws), Forest (issue of Patta, possession on of land etc.); Land alienation; land acquisition; Economic activities; Human Resource Development and Health and Nutrition etc. The Conference made a number of recommendations which were forwarded to Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Planning Commission with the request to consider these recommendations while formulating/finalizing 12th Plan Proposals.

(iii)  A Working Group on Women’s Agency & Empowerment for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) finalized its Report.  An amount of Rs. 7515.72 crores has been projected for various schemes/programme relating to Women to be implemented by the Ministry in the 12th Plan.

XVII.  Women Development

The Ministry sponsored the visit of a four member delegation to participate in the meeting of UN-Commission on Status of Women which commenced at New York from 22nd February 2011, the delegation comprised Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch and Smt. Sumitra Mahajan (Members of Parliament); Member Secretary, National Commission of Women and Director of the Ministry. The Indian delegation made important interventions at the various panel discussions in the meeting.

Celebration of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was celebrated on 8th March, 2011 at Vigyan Bhavan. This year, the theme of the event was Socio Economic Empowerment of Women: Way Forward. The focus was on issues relating to women in the informal sector, need for their financial inclusion besides providing access to them for skill development and marketing. The Panel discussion which was organized as a part of the celebrations was chaired by Mrs. Usha Thorat, former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Conferment of Stree Shakti Puraskar

Minister of State (I/C), Women and Child Development conferred Stree Shakti Puraskar for the year 2010 to four (4) eminent women who have done excellent work and demonstrated their commitment to the cause of women on the International Women’s Day.

The Ministry has also same delegation in difference national and international conferences relating to women’s issues.  These are:

(i)         ECOSOC meeting in Geneva

(ii)        Meeting of Co-Chairs of India-US Women’s Empowerment Dialogue (WED)

(iii)       Gender Mainstreaming Consultation for South Asian Countries organized by ADB at Manila.

(iv)       National Workshop on gender in development issues held in Goa

The other meeting of importance are as follows:

(i)         Meeting of IBSA is South Africa

Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Women & Child Development attended the Fourth IBSA Women’s Forum at Ministerial level on 13-14 October, 2011 at South Africa. The Forum discussed the issued related to impact of climate change on women and the challenges faced by young women for empowerment and employment generation.

(ii)        Visit of First Lady of Mozambique to India from 7-11 November, 2011

The First Lady of Mozambique,  Maria Da Luz Guebuza, along with her team, visited India from 7-11th November, 2011. National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) made a presentation on various issues relating to social, economic, political and legal empowerment of women. SEWA BHARAT, a prominent NGO working with women workers in informal economy, also made a presentation on protecting livelihoods of these workers through skill development and creating market linkages.

(iii)       Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

(a) Fifth Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting

Based on the inputs provided by various Ministries, MWCD had prepared a revised draft Combined Fourth and Fifth Periodic Reports of India on CEDAW. The fifth inter-ministerial committee meeting was organized on 17th November 2011 to discuss and finalize the draft report.

(b) National Consultation with Civil Society Organizations

The draft Combined Fourth and Fifth periodic reports of India to CEDAW prepared by MWCD was shared widely with the members of civil society through a National Consultation held on 25 November 2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi under the Chairpersonship  Shri D K Sikri. He highlighted progress made by women of India in the spheres of social, economic, legal and political empowerment over the years but emphasized that a lot remains to be achieved in future. Over 25 participants from different civil society organizations across the country deliberated on the draft Report and gave feedback.

Initiatives for Twelfth Plan and Meetings of Sub-Groups

The Working Groups for the 12th Plan Document have been established and meetings of the following Sub-Groups have been held.

·         Sub-group on “Women’s Agency and Empowerment”

·         Sub-group on ‘Girl Child’ for Working Group on Child rights.

·         Sub-group on Adolescents as part of Working Group on Child Rights

·         Sub-group on Nutrition

·         Sub group on Child Rights and Protection

XVIII. Vatsalya Mela, 2011

A composite outreach event, Vatsalya Mela, combining information in all schemes and services relating to the Ministry and various events was held at Delhi Haat for six days from 14-19th November, 2011.

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