Government's schemes for women empowerment

The goal of development in a society is to provide individuals freedom of choice irrespective of their gender, race, caste, and religion. The role of governments is to establish equality in this freedom among all sections of society, which it tries to achieve through different social setups. Women in India, have been in a disadvantageous position because of the nature of society being mainly patriarchal in nature which resulted in various social stigmas associated with her.

Though a lot more needs to be done to bring women on equal footing with men, the situation has improved a lot in recent times in terms of their education, sex ratio, income, and other social parameters. This progress has been made with the efforts of the government and civil societies on various levels. Since its inception, the Indian constitution provides many provisions to eliminate this gender disparity (read them here) and with time the government has brought many legal aids to support women's empowerment. Other than legal support, government schemes have helped a lot to build up the confidence of women folks and assisted in their growth toward an equal society in terms of opportunities.

The government has given these efforts a concerted push and launched Mission Shakti to integrate all schemes under one umbrella and bring a systematic structure and vision for providing safety, security, and empowerment to women. Some of these schemes are:

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

One can only talk about women's empowerment if there are women in society. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched on 22nd January 2015 to address the issue of decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in the country along with related issues of empowerment of girls and women, over a life cycle continuum. In the 15th Finance Commission period, the scheme is being operated/ implemented as a component of the Sambal sub-scheme of Mission Shakti.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme aims to achieve the following:
  1. Improvement in the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) by 2 points every year
  2. Improvement in the percentage of institutional deliveries or sustained at the rate of 95% or above
  3. 1% increase in 1st Trimester Anti-Natal Care (ANC) Registration per year
  4. 1% increase in enrolment at the secondary education level and skilling of girls/ women per year.
  5. To check the dropout rate among girls at secondary and higher secondary levels.
  6. Raising awareness about safe Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana

Under-nutrition continues to adversely affect the majority of women in India. In India, every third woman is undernourished and every second woman is anemic. An undernourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth-weight baby. When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle since the changes are largely irreversible. Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right up to the last days of their pregnancy. To support such women financially and further their empowerment, the Government started this maternity benefits program called Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Under PMMVY, a cash incentive of ` 5000/- is provided directly to the Bank / Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) for the first living child of the family subject to fulfilling specific conditions relating to Maternal and Child Health.

Sakhi-One Stop Centre (OSC)

These centers are established to provide a one-stop solution to women aggrieved and affected by violence in any form and anywhere. Women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture will be facilitated with medical, legal, psychological, and counseling support.

The finances for the centers are provided by NIRBHAYA FUND - a dedicated fund for projects specifically designed to improve the safety and security of women.

The objectives of the Scheme are:
  1. To provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces under one roof.
  2. To facilitate immediate, emergency, and non-emergency access to a range of services including medical, legal, psychological, and counseling support under one roof to fight against any forms of violence against women.

Ujjawala Scheme

(A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of Trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-Integration of Victims of Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation)

Trafficking women and children of vulnerable groups for commercial sexual exploitation is one of the major issues faced worldwide. India has emerged as a source, destination, and transit for both in-country and cross-border trafficking. Poverty is one of the main causes which makes one indulge in such activities, the most efficient solution would be to improve the social status of the poor and make them financially sound, till that happens government needs to act to prevent the push toward trafficking. Ujjawala has been conceived primarily for the purpose of preventing trafficking on the one hand and the rescue and rehabilitation of victims on the other.

Swadhar Greh is another such scheme that targets the women victims of unfortunate circumstances who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity. The Scheme envisages providing shelter, food, clothing, and health as well as economic and social security for the women victims of difficult circumstances which include widows, destitute women, and aged women.

National Creche Scheme

National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through States/UTs to provide daycare facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers.

A crèche is a facility that enables parents to leave their children while they are at work and where children are provided stimulating environment for their holistic development. Crèches are designed to provide group care to children, usually up to 6 years of age, who need care, guidance, and supervision away from their homes during the day.

  1. To provide daycare facilities for children (6 months to 6 years) of working mothers in the community.
  2. To improve the nutrition and health status of children.
  3. To promote the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development (Holistic Development) of children.
  4. To educate and empower parents /caregivers for better childcare.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

In May 2016, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG), introduced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ (PMUY) as a flagship scheme with an objective to make clean cooking fuel such as LPG available to rural and deprived households which were otherwise using traditional cooking fuels such as firewood, coal, cow-dung cakes, etc.

In this effort, 8 crore connections were to be given by 2020, which was achieved as stated by the PMUY site.

Ujjwala 2.0: Additional allocation of 1.6 Crore LPG Connections under PMUY Scheme with the special facility to migrant households.

The salient features of the PMUY Scheme are as under:-
  • LPG Connection is released in the name of the adult woman of the BPL Family, subject to the condition that no LPG connection exists in the name of any family member of the household.
  • The Scheme covers cash assistance up to Rs. 1600/- for providing a new LPG connection and this cash assistance is provided by the Central Government.
  • The customer bears the cost of the Hot plate and purchase of the first refill. The customers have the option to take Hot plate on the purchase of the first refill or both on a loan basis from zero interest rate and the same is recovered through subsidy received by the beneficiary. No recovery of loan is effecting for the initial 6 refills.


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