Let us have a look at the various schemes, programs and laws implemented by the Narendra Modi government to enable Women Empowerment in India.
MAHILA E-HAAT- Supporting Women Entrepreneurship
On 7th March 2016, The Ministry of Women & Child Development launched an online platform “Mahila E-Haat”. The mission of this program is to act as a catalyst by providing a web-based marketing platform to women entrepreneurs and NGO’s to directly sell to buyers. The portal provides an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to leverage technology and showcase the products manufactured by them. This exclusive portal is the first in the country to provide a special, focused marketing platform for women aimed at financial inclusion and economic empowerment of women.
Since its launch, the Mahila E-haat portal has seen over 17 lakh visitors. Women entrepreneurs and NGOs from 24 states are showcasing over 2000 products/services across multiple categories such as fashion accessories, clothing, jewelry, decorative gift items, organic products, industrial products, educational aids and more. The positive impact of this platform has been widespread, over 50 lakh women have benefitted directly and indirectly since its launch along with benefitting over 26000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and NGOs. The portal is continuously being upgraded and bound to increase its impact multifold. Mahila E-Haat portal can be accessed here – http://mahilaehaat-rmk.gov.in
BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO
In response to India’s rapidly deteriorating child gender ratio, 918 girls:1000 boys in 2011, the Government of India launched the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ program on 22nd January 2015. The key elements of this program include nation-wide awareness and advocacy campaigns, enforcement of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, and multi-sectoral effort with a strong emphasis on mindset change through training, sensitization, awareness raising and community mobilization on the ground. ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ is a tri-ministerial collaborative initiative being run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Three main objectives of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana are the following:
- Focus on the prevention of gender-biased gender-selective elimination
- Protecting the girl child
- Ensuring education and promoting participation of the girl child
The program is being administered through a well-defined framework that has a project implementation and progress monitoring “Task Force” at National, State, District, Gram Panchayat/Ward levels. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao was introduced in 3 phases: The first phase included 100 districts that were identified on the basis of low Child Gender Ratio as per Census 2011, covering all states/UTs as a pilot with at least one district in each state. In the second phase, the scheme was further been expanded to 61 districts from 11 States/UT having Child Gender Ratio below the country average. Pan India expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao was completed in the third and final phase, launched on 8th March 2018, covering all 640 districts of the country. It is expected that through the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative, Child Gender Ratio will significantly improve in the country.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1st, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh with an aim to safeguard the health of women & children. By providing households with clean cooking fuel i.e. LPG, they won’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas to collect firewood. This scheme targets to provide 5 crore LPG connections to BPL (Below Poverty Line) families with the support of ₹1600 per connection.
PMUY is likely to result in additional employment of about 1 Lakh people and provide a business opportunity of well over ₹10,000 crores to the Indian Industry. Furthermore, the launch of this scheme will also provide a significant boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, also launched by the Narendra Modi government, as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic. As per the Government of India’s performance dashboard, over 7 crore LPG connections have been released under the Ujjwala Yojana, far exceeding the original set target.
Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (Free of Cost Medical Checks during Pregnancy
The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) was launched by the Government of India with an aim to reduce the maternity mortality rate. PMSMA aims to provide guaranteed, comprehensive and quality pregnancy care, free of cost to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month from the 3rd month of pregnancy. In addition to all the antenatal checkups, services like ultrasound, blood, and urine tests are provided to the beneficiaries.
The services are provided by gynecology specialists/ physicians with support from private volunteering doctors. Nationally, there are over 13000 facilities providing PMSMA services and additionally, 5500 doctors have registered to volunteer in the program. Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan has been extremely beneficial at the grassroots, with free antenatal care provided to 3 crore pregnant women across the country through PMSMA.
Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women. The scheme was originally launched in 2010 as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), implemented in 53 selected districts. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the scheme will be scaled up to all 640 districts in the country and rechristened it as Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
Under the scheme, incentive of ₹5000 is provided in three installments: First instalment of ₹1000 on early registration of pregnancy at the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) or approved Health facility, second installment of ₹2000 after six months of pregnancy on receiving at least one ante-natal check-up (ANC) and third installment of ₹2000 after childbirth is registered and the child has received the first cycle of BCG, OPV, DPT and Hepatitis – B. Within the first year of the launch of the scheme, 40 lakh women have been received the maternity benefits through direct bank transfers.
Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK)
During Budget (2017-18), Government of India approved a new scheme named, Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) for 2017-18 up to 2019-20 to empower rural women. At the end of the second year, the scheme is to be evaluated to decide its continuation/expansion. The scheme is aimed at providing a “one-stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, digital literacy, employment, health, and nutrition”.
Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme is operational at multiple levels with clearly defined objectives:
- The national level consists of domain experts responsible to design and support the implementation of various Women Empowerment schemes and programs launched by Government of India.
- At the state level, the State Resource Centre for Women (SRCW ) provides technical assistance towards implementing these programs, laws, and schemes meant for women through effective coordination with the state governments
- The District Level Centre for Women (DLCW) serves as a link between village/block and state level in facilitating implementation of women-centric schemes (such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padao) and give the schedules a foothold at the district level
- Activities under MSK are be implemented at the Gram Panchayat level and are be facilitated through Block Level Committee (BLC). The block level promotes community participation through involvement of Student Volunteers and NSS/NCC cadre students for empowering rural women.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill – Abolition of Triple Talaq
Triple talaq is an age-old practice whereby a husband can divorce, uttering the word talaq three times to his wife. This practice dissolves a marriage and women are left destitute without homes in many cases. Abolition of Tripple Talaq is a strong step towards curbing this unconstitutional and arbitrary practice. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was originally introduced in 2017 but was stuck in the parliament due to objections on the bill by certain opposition political parties. The government then introduced a triple talaq ordinance that was approved by the president of the India Ram Nath Kovind on 12th January 2019.
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill
In August 2016, the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its ex-post facto approval to amendments in the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The bill was introduced in Parliament and was passed in March 2017 extending the period of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for employees in the private sector.
This law also mandates every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche in a day which will include her interval for rest.
Along with the women-focussed schemes and programs highlighted above several other initiatives have hugely impacted the empowerment of Women.
- More than 70% of the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna are women. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna is a scheme to get affordable and collateral free loan to start businesses.
- 82 lakh girls have benefited from the “Universal Scheme for Adolescent girls”. The objectives of the scheme is to improve and promote awareness of nutritional, health and development status of adolescent girls.
- It is expected that more than 10 crore children and women will benefit from the Poshan Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission or NMM). The goals of NNM are to achieve improvement in the nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women, and Lactating Mothers in a time-bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18
- 1.4 crore accounts have been created under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna. It is a small deposit scheme launched to promote the financial security of the girl child.
- Muslim women can now perform Hajj without a male guardian. The government eased restriction in 2018 by phasing out a tradition disallowed women to travel alone to Hajj, a practice that was in place for decades.
- More than 80 lakh pregnant women immunized under Mission Indradhanush.
The government shapes the mentality and our country’s government today is such that it just doesn’t talk about women empowerment, but actually follows it. The prime examples of women in power are Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman, handling two of the most important ministries in the Government – External Affairs and Defense Ministry. Here are the iconic and extremely powerful photographs that show TRUE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
These women are not just important political public figures but represent India internationally, speaking volumes regarding women empowerment at a global level.