In the final year of its second term in office, the Centre intends to rope in multiple ministries and States to lay out different plans for gender parity and restoring dignity of women.
The ambitious initiative, conceived by the Niti Aayog in consultation with the government and other experts, is part of an overall women empowerment initiative the Centre desires to achieve through sectoral policy interventions, gender sensitisation and effective criminal investigation and justice system, official information accessed by businessline reveal.
It will come up for deliberations during Saturday’s meeting of the 8th Governing Council of Niti Aayog, which would be presided over by the Prime Minister and attended by State Chief Ministers and Lt Governors of Union Territories. Most of the programmes have been scheduled to be ready in a year’s time and tracked by identified ministries once they get nod, the meeting agenda stated.
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For instance, Ministries of Women and Child Development, and Home Affairs will be assigned to create “One Nation, One Helpline” through the integration of all helplines for women with a single emergency response number ‘112’ and link them with ‘One Stop Centres’ and ‘District Child Protection Units’, both offering solutions for those affected by violence.
Likewise, social welfare department of Union ministry of social justice will oversee the steps States and UTs take to increase child marriage prohibition officers for preventing child marriages, since India, as per UNICEF, is home to the largest number of child brides in the world.
Education Ministry, similarly, will be told to come up with gender sensitive curriculum for children on upholding dignity and respecting rights of women. The Niti Aayog believes that case studies and problem solving activities can be encouraged in schools for children, besides gender sensitising them via short films and animated videos and posters on preparing do’s and dont’s on the issue. Teachers would also be educated for imparting good behavioural practises to children.
Hubs for women
Another intended push in that direction, supposed to be supervised by social welfare department, is operationalisation of “hubs for empowerment of women” at State, UT and district levels, opening women hostels in industrial and economic zones, raising women self help groups (SHGs) as brands and unicorns.
The private sector will also have to chip in the government’s effort — Gender Equality Index-based ranking of top 500 companies and entities to disclose compliances under the Maternity Benefit Act, the Sexual Harassment of Women (prevention), Prohibition and Redressal) at Workplace Act, 2013 and Code on Industrial Relation.
Every bank will have to own up 100 districts and recognise at least one woman SHG and reward the best of the lot for financial discipline, the Union Ministry of Finance will own up once cleared. The Ministry of Industries and Commerce will have to pitch for coordination, requesting all States and UTs to select 30 to 40 companies and MSMEs and woman SHGs and tie them up for handholding and promoting entrepreneurship.
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Special recruitment drive for women as forest guards is also on the cards and the Aayog has planned efforts to increase their numbers as drivers, bus conductors, tourist police and guides. The plan also incorporates to dedicate local food street to women SHGs.
End-to-end monitoring of crime against women through inter-operable criminal justice system (ICJS) which is part of Supreme Court’s e-committee for seamless transfer of data and information among courts, police, jails and forensic laboratories — this aspect is expected to be handled by the MHA.