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1. Empowering Rural Women : The Way Forward

  • The Rural women constitute a large proportionof population in rural India. Poverty isparticularly acute for women living in ruralhouseholds.

1.1 Challenges for rural women

Poor education.

  • Rural women often suffer from high illiteracy rates and high dropout rates from schools.

  • Poor knowledge on legal rights hampers the social and political empowerment of rural women.

  • Illiteracy also impedes their access to skill up gradation and capacity building programs, access to credit, access to subsidies on inputs provided by government agencies and related training modules offered by the agricultural extension system and their decision making power.

  • Digital literacy:They do not enjoy autonomy in decision making in the family matters relating to children's education and occupation in spite of their significant contribution to economic activities.

  • Poor access to Information Technology (IT) by rural women intensifies existing inequalities between women and men and also creates new form of inequalities in education and health.

  • Access to women friendly technologies and services by the government schemes is poor.

  • Poor linkages between the nonfarm activities and farm activities further hampers opportunities for value addition and market linkages for economic empowerment promotion of women.

  • Though women's participation in agricultural production is consistently expanding, they lack access to input supplies, extension services, credit  and the most important agricultural resource land.

  • There is often less involvement of women in opportunities related to construction, trade, transport, storage and services due to lack of skills.

  • Vulnerability to climate change: Rural women are affected differently, and often more severely by climate change and its associated natural disasters such as floods, droughts, cyclones and storms. The effect of climate change drives rural women into dangerous situations/risks and vulnerabilities.

What are the Government efforts in this regard?

  • DeenDayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Yojana (DAY- NRLM):Aajeevika- National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India in June 2011.

  • Aided in part through investment support by the World Bank, the Mission aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms of the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services. Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner

  • The Ministry of Rural Development implements DDU-GKY to drive the national agenda for inclusive growth, by developing skills and productive capacity of the rural youth from poor families.

  • DDU-GKY bridges the gap by funding training projects benchmarked to global standards, with an emphasis on placement, retention, career progression and foreign placement.

  • The MahilaKisanSashaktikaranPariyojana, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development as a part of DeendayalAntodaya Yojana-NRLM, aims to empower women in agriculture.

  • A comprehensive module for capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats and a training program for Trainers of women panchayat leaders across the country was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

  • RashtriyaMahilaKosh (RMK), established in 1993 is a national level organization as an autonomous body under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, for socio-economic empowerment of women.

  • The operating model currently followed by RMK is that of a facilitating agency wherein RMK provides loans to NGO-MFIs termed as Intermediary Organizations (IMO) which on-lend to Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women.

  • Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra aims at empowering rural women through community participation to create an environment in which they realise their full potential

  • In a path breaking initiative to empower women an online portal National Repository of Information for Women (NARI) was developed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, the portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.

  • MahatmaGandhi National Rural Employment GuaranteeScheme (MGNREGS), National Rural LivelihoodMission (NRLM), PM AawasYojna (PMAY), andcrèches for women at working sites etc. They canalso play an important role in bringing about amindset change towards the value of girl child byactively associating themselves with programmessuch as BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP), SwachhBharat Abhiyan etc.

1.2. Women As A Part Of Rural Workforce

  • In contrast to the urban women workers, who are offered with technological and infrastructural advancement, rural working women constitute 81.29 percent of female working force in India.

  • Quantitatively, rural women workers (121 million) outnumber their male counterparts (105.5 million) in the urban areas.

  • Empirical studies indicate the emerging scenario of gender equality in rural labour comprising with female labour force (48.6%) and male labour force (51.4%) respectively.

  • The emerging phenomena of feminisation of rural labour is discernible through a gender analysis of rural people seeking work in which, 25.8% of rural women labourers are seeing work in contrast to 16.2% rural male labourers.

  • Rural women (228 million) outnumber rural men (153 million) among the marginal work seekers.


What are the challenges of rural women at work?

  • Contradictory to feminisation of global farming, women cultivators lack access to fertilizers, seeds, credit,

  • membership in cooperatives and unions and technical assistance that are bestowed upon the men holding title to the agricultural land of the household.

  • Lac of access to credits, capital , decent of work in addition to dependent children succumb rural women to the vicious cycle of poverty, which is deeper than that of men due to gender equality in the control and use their own income, household resources etc., to the same degree as men.

  • Triple role of women labourers saps their energy and time that renders them weak and malnourished.

  • Rural women lack immunity and become vulnerable to ill health and diseases that adversely affect their work participation temporarily or permanently.

  • Both the option of and being in physical labour precludes the possibility of women to engage in further education.

  • By the nature of tasks assigned and the extent of time augmented from women labourers by masculine hegemony, women labourers are succumbed to over work.

  • Routinised tasks and absence of training renders rural women labourers unskilled for their life time.

  • In addition to physical hardships, rural women are subjected to ill treatment, verbal abuse and sometimes even physical violence and abuse which go largely unreported.

  • Under rural patriarchy operating at home and workplace, the women's work is pervasively undervalued, underrepresented and exploitatively extracted due to women's lack of knowledge about safeguards, inadequate voice in public forum and coercion beneath symbolic violence.

2. Economic Empowerment Of Rural Women

The government, through its various initiatives such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (aimed at providing primary education especially to girl children from disadvantaged rural areas), attempts to improve the education of women,Mission Poorna Shakti, which provides a single window for all women centric programmes run by various ministries. The internet and the social media have fuelled online women activism in a big way.

2.1. Role of education in empowering women:

  • As education is both input and output of human development, educational equity will ensure enabling and entrepreneurial development.

  • Educated girls and young women are more likely to know their rights and to have the confidence to claim them.

  • Education helps people to understand democracy, promotes the tolerance and trust that underpin it, and motivates people to participate in the political life of their societies.

  • Education enables women to respond to challenges, to confront their traditional role and change their lives.


constitutional and legal provisions available for women?

  • l Article 14 Men and women to have equal rights and opportunities in the political, economic and social spheres.

  • l Article 15(1) Prohibits discrimination against any citizens on the grounds of religion, race, sex,caste etc.

  • l Article 16 Equality of opportunities in matter of public appointments for all citizens.

  • l Article 39(d) Equal pay for equal work for both men and women.

  • l Article 42 The state to make provision for ensuring first and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

  • Government has also enacted specific laws to safeguard the interests of women

  • l The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 which provides for women the right to parental property.

  • l The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 which declares the taking of dowry an unlawful activity and thereby prevents the exploitation of women.

  • l Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 which provides payment of remuneration equal with men for work of equal value.

  • l The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971 which legalizes abortion conceding the right of a women to go for abortion on the ground of physical and mental health.

  • l The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 which seeks to stop various types of crimes against

  • women. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 which prohibits the Vulgar presentation of women in the media such as- newspapers, cinema, T.V. etc.

  • l The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides for more effective protection of the rights of women guarantee dunder the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family.

2.2. Government initiatives:

  • Aajeevika Skills : Making Rural Poor Youth Employable National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is an initiative launched by Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India in June2011. The Aajee vika Skill Development Programme(ASDP) is a sub-mission under NRLM. It has evolve dout of the need to cater to the occupational aspirations of the rural youth who are poor and also Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) is a Centrally not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities (Article 39 A)

  • The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42)

  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e))

  • Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat (Article 243 D(3))

  • Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4))

  • Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipality to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality (Article 243 T (3))

  • Mahila e-Haatis a unique online platform where participants can display their products. It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Stand Up India’ initiatives.

  • Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become self-employed/ entrepreneurs.

  • The Scheme is intended to benefit women who are in the age group of 16 years and above across the country including rural women.

  • Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme For the Children of Working Mothers provides day care facilities to the children in the age group of 0-6 years from families with monthly income of less than Rs.12,000/-.

  • The scheme, inter-alia, also provides development services i.e. supplementary nutrition, health care inputs like immunization, polio drops, basic growth monitoring and recreation to such children.

3. National Policy For Women 2016

  • The vision of the National Policy for Women,2016 as given in the document is to create “a society in which women attain their full potential in all spheres of life and influence the process of social change”The 24 page document has listed seven priority are as namely; 1. Health including food security and nutrition; 2. Education; 3. Economy; 4. Governance National Policy for Women 2016 Neetha Nand Decision Making; 5. Violence against Women;6. Enabling Environment and 7. Environment and Climate Change.

  • Health including food security and nutrition: Focus on recognizing women’s reproductive rights, shift of family planning focus also to males, addressing health issues in a life cycle continuum such as psychological and general well-being, health care challenges related to nutrition/ hygiene of adolescents, geriatric health care, expansion of health insurance schemes and addressing the intergenerational cycle of under-nutrition

  • Education: Improve access to pre-primary education, enrolment and retention of adolescent girls, implement innovative transportation models for better schooling outcomes, advocate gender champions and address disparities with regard to ICTs.

  • Economy: Raising visibility, engendering macro-economic policies and trade agreements, generate gender-disaggregated land ownership database, skill development and training for women, entrepreneurial development, review of labour laws and policies, equal employment opportunities with appropriate benefits related to maternity and child care services, address technological needs of women.

  • Governance and Decision Making: Increasing women’s participation in - the political arena, administration, civil services and corporate boardrooms, Violence Against Women: Address all forms of violence against women through a life cycle approach, Legislations affecting /relating to women will be reviewed/harmonized to enhance effectiveness, Improve Child Sex Ratio (CSR), strict implementation of advisories, guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) and protocols, prevention of trafficking at source, transit and destination areas for effective monitoring of the networks.

  • Enabling Environment: Gender perspective in housing and infrastructure, ensuring safe drinking water and sanitation, gender parity in the mass media & sports, concerted efforts towards strengthening social security and support services for all women especially the vulnerable, marginalized, migrant and single women.

  • Environment and Climate Change: addressing gender concerns during distress migration and displacement in times of natural calamities due to climate change and environmental degradation. Promotion of environmental friendly, renewable, non–conventional energy, green energy sources for women in rural households.

  • Retention of girls in schools, providing for their gender specific needs including issues of sexual harassment  are left out or given negligible importance till date.

  • Many women work in semi - marketised, semi monetised and non contractual subsistence activities either in agriculture, petty production or services, which are outside the organised sector should be taken care of.

  • One of the most important challenge that has close association with the overall decline in the status of women in our society is the economic participation of women because it intersects with other structural issues which needs attention.

  • The long run decline in women's workforce participation rate, evident even during most distinctive phase of accelerated rates of economic growth still remains a large puzzle that needs to be addressed.

  • The women are burdened by the responsibility of sustaining the agriculture which is in crisis, and it needs an intervention to protect them.

  • Lack of property rights for women especially agricultural land has affected women's decision making in agriculture and they must be empowered.

  • Access to credits and extension services which are based on the ownership of land have also been issue for the women entrepreneurs.

  • The distress migration of women from rural to urban areas, and their segregation into low paid and highly exploitative informal employments such as paid domestic work must be addressed.

What are the operational strategies to achieve the policy objectives?

  • Enabling safety and security of women – with initiatives such as One Stop Centres, Women Helpline, Mahila Police Volunteers, Reservation of women in police force, creating immediate response mechanism through panic buttons in mobiles, public and private transport, surveillance mechanisms in public places.

  • Creating eco-systems to encourage entrepreneurship amongst women – through platforms like Mahila E-Haat, dedicated theme based exhibitions, focussed skill training, mentoring through Women Entrepreneurship Council, availability of easy & affordable credit and financial inclusion.

  • Training and capacity building of all stakeholders including youth through Gender Champion initiative, frontline workers, women sarpanches and all officials dealing with policy and delivery systems impacting women.

  • Facilitating women in workplace – through gender friendly work place, flexi timings, increased maternity leave, provision of child care / creches at workplace, life cycle health care facilities

4. Health Of Rural Women - Wealth Of Nation

  • It's our women who form the roots of our families and thereby society and ultimately the country.

  • The most recent research also supports the claim that investment in the health of women and children, besides saving lives and preventing avoidable tragedies, secures high social and economic returns for the country.

  • Increasing health expenditure by just 5 dollars per person per year up to 2035 could yield up to nine times that value in economic and social benefits according to the Lancet study.

  • These returns include greater growth in gross domestic product through improved productivity and prevention of the needless deaths and disease.

4.1. She-Box Online Complaint Management System For Working Women

  • The new SHe-Box portal offers the facility of making online complaints of sexual harassment at workplace to all women employees in the country including government and private employees. Those who have already filed a written complaint with the concerned Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) or Local Complaint Committee (LCC) constituted under the SH Act are also eligible to file their complaint through this portal.

  • SHe-Box portal is an effort to provide speedier remedy to women facing sexual harassment at workplace.Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC/LCC of the concerned employer.

  • Through this portal, WCD as well as complainant can monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICC/LCC.

4.2. One Stop Centres (OSC)

  • One Stop Centres (OSC) are intended to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. 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 support and redressal.

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

5. Pm Ujjwala Yojana

  • In rural areas cooking is one of the chores that capture day to day life majorly, people do not get time to look beyond the sechores and contribute in a productive manner. Nearly 121 million households are still using the inefficient chul has as per the Census 2011. As per a WHO report,smoke inhaled by women from unclean fuel is equivalent to burning 400 cigarettes in an hour.

  • a. To increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix;

  • b. Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency;

  • c. Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology;

  • d. Advance and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

5.1. Pradhan Mantri LPG Panchayat Scheme

  • The LPG Panchayat scheme aims at spreading awareness among LPG users about how to properly use clean fuel and its useful benefits. It will provide platform to trigger discussion through sharing of personal experiences on benefits o fuse of clean fuel compared to traditional fuels like cow dung, charcoal or wood.

  • It also aims to connect with beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojana to resolve issues and wrong traditional beliefs among people through officials of oil PSUs, NGOs, ASHA workers and social

  • workers. Under it, one lakh LPG Panchayats will be activated across country to deal with issue of safe use of LPG as well as discuss its various benefits on environment

  • The Sustainable Development Goal – 7 sets an objective to provide access to an affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services by 2030.

  • a. To increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix;

  • b. Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency;

  • c. Enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology;

  • d. Advance and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

6. Women's Safety : Top Priority

  • Violence against women (VAW) has been a worldwide phenomenon ,Millions of of women are subjected to overt and latent violence as they are trafficked for sex tourism, fall prey to ‘kitchen accidents’, face sexual war crimes like rape, succumb to hostility at work place,face intimate partner violence, lack the agency to determine sexual and reproductive choices,honour killings, among others.

  • The gender violence is not only a legal crime but also a violation of basic human rights directed against the female human population.

  • Universalisation of Women Helpline has been recently approved i.e. on 19th February, 2015 with a total project cost Rs. 69.49 crore for implementation through States/UTs from 1st April 2015.

  • The scheme envisages to provide 24 hour emergency and non-emergency response to all women affected by violence both in public and private sphere, including in the family, community, workplace etc.

  • Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets :The Ministry had discussed this issue with a number of stakeholders as well as Department of Telecommunications and had insisted that a physical panic button is much superior to having an App on the mobile phone.

  • It was argued that a women in distress does not have more than a second or two to send out a distress message as a perpetrator will often reach out to her mobile phone in the event of a physical/sexual assault.

  • So all feature phones will have the facility of panic button configured to

  • the numeric key 5 or 9 and all smart phones will have the panic button configured to three times short pressing of the on-off button.

  • Mahila Police Volunteers (MPV): The MPV will encourage women to come forward with complaints of violence and discrimination, provide information to them on remedies for this and assist them in taking their cases to police authorities.

  • MPV will serve as an example to the village and encourage a woman friendly environment both within and outside the police station.

  • Any empowered woman from the community, who is of 21 years of age and is at least 12th pass can be selected to be a MPV

6.1. 33 per cent reservation for women in police

  • The Union Cabinet gave its approval for making reservation of 33 percent for women, horizontally and in each category (SC/ST/OBC and others) in direct recruitment in non-gazetted posts from Constables to sub-inspector in the police forces of all Union Territories, including Delhi Police.

  • The Cabinet also approved that suitable enabling provisions in the Recruitment Rules should be made accordingly by all UTs police forces including Delhi Police.

  • The reservation will be available to women against all such vacancies existing on the date of issue of the order after Cabinet approval and vacancies arising thereafter.

  • The portal (SHe-Box) is an effort to provide speedier remedy to women facing sexual harassment at workplace as envisaged under the SH Act.

  • Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC of the concerned Ministry/Department/PSU/Autonomous Body etc. having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaint.

  • Through this portal, WCD as well as complainant can monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICC.

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing “Ujjawala” – a Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of Trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation, Re-integration and Repatriation of Victims of Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

  • These rehabilitative centres are given financial support for providing shelter and basic amenities such as food, clothing, medical care, legal aid; education in the case the victims are children, as well as for undertaking vocational training and income generation activities to provide the victims with alternate livelihood option.

  • The Women Power Line 1090 is a IVRS based dedicated service in Uttar Pradesh, India, to empower women from all forms of harassment and ensure their safety in society.

  • 1090 is a toll-free number that provides immediate help to the harassed women suffering from an antisocial behaviour or any other format of assistance which is sought.

  • This helpline handles the cases of offense against women and ensures speedy protection to women and girls.

  • Government of India initiatives to promote the health of women.

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

  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 came into effect on 9 December 2013. It lays down detailed definitions of what constitutes sexual harassment, defines the employee and the employer, defines what constitutes as a workplace, and takes into account both the organized and the unorganized sector, thereby covering all women working in offices, factories, or even as domestic help in homes irrespective of the age of the woman.

  • Inclusion of acid attack victims in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act

  • A spate of incidents have been recorded where acid attacks have been used as a tool to derogate the

  • identity of a woman in the society by deforming her, used as a mode of vengeance in cases of unwanted

  • sexual advances. Acid attacks have also come to light in the context of disputes other than sexual offences and are being used increasingly as a tool to inflict physical and mental trauma on women as well as lifelong scars, disability in some cases, and social stigma.

6.2. Swadhar Greh

  • Recognizing the need to prevent women from exploitation and to support their survival and rehabilitation,



  • Under the Scheme, SwadharGreh will be set up in every district with capacity of 30 women with the following objectives:

  • a) To cater to the primary need of shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment and care of the women in distress and who are without any social and economic support.

  • b) To enable them to regain their emotional strength that gets hampered due to their encounter with unfortunate circumstances.

  • c) To provide them with legal aid and guidance to enable them to take steps for their readjustment in family/society.

  • d) To rehabilitate them economically and emotionally.

  • e) To act as a support system that understands and meets various requirements of women in distress.

  • f) To enable them to start their life afresh with dignity and conviction.

  • For big cities and other districts having more than 40 lakh population or those districts where there is a need for additional support to the women, more than one SwadharGreh could be established. The capacity of SwadharGreh could be expanded up to 50 or 100 on the basis of need assessment and other important parameters.

7. Women And Panchayats

  • Panchayati Raj System of India is a unique and innovative example of grassroots democracy in world

7.1. Constitution 73rd Amendment and Panchayati Raj in India

  • The 73rd Amendment 1992 added a new Part IX to the constitution titled “The Panchayats” covering provisions from Article 243 to 243(O); and a new Eleventh Schedule covering 29 subjects within the functions of the Panchayats.

  • This amendment implements the article 40of the DPSP. However, states have been given enough freedom to take their geographical, politico administrative  and others conditions into account while adopting the Panchayati Raj System.

  • While t he 73rd Amendment to the Constitution mandate that at least one third of the seats in the Panchayats must be reserved for women, at least five states have increased the proportion of reserved seats to 50 percent. Bihar was the first state to do soin 2006 and was followed by Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. All these states have raised their reservation quota to 50 percent. Sikkim has raised it to 40 per cent.

  • Need for capacity building of Elected Women Representatives (EWR)

  • There has been a growing realisation in the country that despite 33 per cent reservation for women in the Panchayat bodies, the EWRs continue to remain ineffective since they do not have appropriate knowledge and skill to administer the village, and the show continues to be run by their husband.

8. Educating The Girl Child For Better Tomorrow

  • Education can be a tool of social development. By pacing woman education in India, the country can achieve the goal of social development as it will help to solve many issues faced by society.

  • Education is the only tool which can prevent the society from its myth and will help to close a gender gap in the society.

  • Educated woman can bring in more productive linkage, backward and forward both, which can bring in fruits in multiple directions.

  • Education not only brings economic gains to a woman but also raises the GDP of the nation.

  • A well educated woman will have more chances of making better decisions for her family's health.

  • Education will improve the chances of employment for women and hence they can contribute to their family income.

  • By educating herself, she can achieve a place in society also and they are less likely to be taken advantage of and lower exposure to domestic abuse.

  • Women who are educated are capable of shaping their future and also their family by bringing up their children in more enlightened way.

  • When women are included in key decision making positions, they take holistic decisions for the development of the society.

What are the reforms taken by GOI to promote Women education?

  • Sakshar Bharat mission for Female Literacy programme was formulated in 2009 with the objective of achieving 80% literacy level at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy seeking – to reduce the gap between male and female literacy to not more than 10 percentage points.

  • It has four broader objectives, namely imparting functional literacy and numeracy to non-literates; acquiring equivalency to formal educational system; imparting relevant skill development programme; and promote a leaning society by providing opportunities for continuing education.

  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 lays down the duties of the appropriate Government and the local authority to ensure that good quality elementary education conforming to norms and standards is provided, curriculum and courses of study are  prescribed in a timely manner, and teachers are trained.

  • As per model rules prescribed under RTE Act, 2009 a primary school is provided at a distance of 1km and an upper primary school is provided at a distance of 3Km, though the States have notified their own neighborhood norms as per their requirement.

  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) which are residential upper primary schools for girls have been opened in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) with rural female literacy below the national average as per Census 2001 with 75% seats allocated to SC, ST, OBC, Muslim & BPL girls.

  • Sponsored Scheme that envisages inter-alia provision of a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation and to improve quality of education imparted at secondary level by making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers etc.

  • Dhanalakshmiis a conditional Cash Transfer Scheme for Girl Child to provide a set of staggered financial incentives for families to encourage them to retain the girl child and educate her.

  • The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) Sablais a centrally sponsored program which has an objective of mainstreaming out of school adolescent girls into formal/non formal education.

9. Empowering Adolescent Girls: Needs And Concerns

  • 1. To strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health;

  • 2. To provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings;

  • 3. To implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health;

  • 4. To strengthen information system



  • Adolescent Girls (AGs) (11-18 years) through nutrition,health care and life skills education. The scheme has two major components viz. Nutrition and Non Nutrition.Nearly 100 lakh adolescent girls per annum are expected to be benefitted under the scheme.

  • The objectives of the Scheme are to

  • i. Enable the AGs for self-development and empowerment

  • ii. Improve their nutrition and health status

  • iii. Promote awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition,Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH)and family and child care

  • iv. Upgrade their home-based skills, life skills and tie up with National Skill Development Program(NSDP) for vocational skills

  • v. Mainstream out of school AGs into formal/non formal education

  • vi. Provide information/guidance about existing public services such as PHC, CHC, Post Office, Bank,Police Station, etc

  • Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) approach has been launched in 2013 and it essentially looks to address the major causes of mortality among women and children as well as the delays in accessing and utilizing health care and services.

  • The RMNCH+A strategic approach has been developed to provide an understanding of ‘continuum of care’ to ensure equal focus on various life stages.

  • National Iron + Initiative to address the issue of anemia across all age groups and the Comprehensive Screening and Early interventions for defects at birth , diseases and deficiencies among girl children and adolescents.

  • Under Rashtriya Kishor SwasthyaKaryakram, Peer Educators are selected and trained on six thematic areas namely- nutrition, sexual reproductive health, substance misuse, non - communicable diseases, mental healt            h, injuries and violence.

  • The National Health Mission (NHM) aims for attainment of universal access to equitable, affordable and quality health care services, accountable and responsive to people’s needs, with effective inter-sectoral convergent action to address the wider social determinants of health.

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched Scheme for Promotion of Menstrual Hygiene among adolescent girls in the age  group of 10-19 years in rural areas as part of the Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH) in RCH II, with specific reference to ensuring health for adolescent girls.

  • Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics was created as the first level of contact of primary health care services with adolescents. These clinics are being developed across all level of care to cater to diversified health and counselling need of adolescent girls and boys.

  • Under the Framework for Implementation of NRHM, a female community health worker called Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) has been engaged in each village in the ratio of one ASHA per 1000 population or one ASHA per habitation in tribal areas.

  • Mother and Child Tracking System is designed to capture information on and track all pregnant women and children (0-5 Years) so that they receive ‘full’ complement of maternal and child health services, thereby contributing to the reduction of maternal, infant and child morbidity and mortality.

  • The Pradhan Mantri SurakshitMatritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) is aimed to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates through safe pregnancies and safe deliveries. The national programme will provide special free antenatal care to about 3 crore pregnant women across the country in order to detect and prevent high risk pregnancies.

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a centrally sponsored scheme which is being implemented with the objective of reducing maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.

  • Under the JSY, eligible pregnant women are entitled for cash assistance irrespective of the age of mother and number of children for giving birth in a government or accredited private health facility.

  • The Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) has been launched on 1st June, 2011, which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section.

  • Under National Iron Plus Initiative (NIPI), through life cycle approach, age and dose specific IFA supplementation programme is being implemented for the prevention of anaemia among the vulnerable age groups like under-5 children, children of 6 – 10 years of age group, adolescents, pregnant & lactating women and women in reproductive age along with treatment of anaemic children and pregnant mothers at health facilities.

10. Welfare Of Tribal Women

  • Government has adopted Tribal Sub-Plan (now called as ‘Scheduled Tribe Component’) strategy for ensuring overall development of tribal areas across the country while ensuring inclusive growth of STs including tribal women. While the major schemes/programmes for providing infrastructural facilities and other amenities like roads, electricity, water, education, health etc. in the tribal areas are implemented by the concerned Central Ministries/Department and State Governments, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements schemes/programmes which are primarily aimed at filling critical gaps in these sectors for tribal population. Ministry of Tribal Affairs while trying to ensure that women benefit equally from general schemes also has some special schemes meant for the benefit of ST women and girls as given below:

  • (i) Scheme of Girls & Boys Hostels for STs: Under the scheme, Central assistance is given to States /UTs / Universities for construction of new hostel buildings and/or extension of existing hostels. State Governments are eligible for 100% central share for construction of all Girls’hostel and also for construction of Boys’ hostel in naxal affected areas. The funding pattern for other Boys’ Hostel to State Governments is on 50:50 basis.

  • (ii) Scheme of Ashram Schools in tribal areas: The objective of the scheme is to provide residential schools for STs to increase the literacy rate among the tribal students and to bring them at par with other population of the country. Under the scheme, State Governments are eligible for 100% central share for construction of all Girls’ Ashram Schools and also for construction of Boys’ Ashram Schools in naxal affected areas. The funding pattern for the other Boys’ Ashram Schools is on 50:50 basis.

  • (iii) Scheme for Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts: This scheme is being implemented in 54 identified low literacy Districts where the ST population is 25% or more, and ST female literacy rate is below 35%, or its fractions, as per 2001 Census.

  • (v) Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub Scheme (SCA to TSS) (hitherto known as SCA to Tribal SubPlan (TSP)): It is 100% grant from Government of India. Its objective is to bridge the gap between Scheduled Tribes (ST) population and others by providing support for education, health, sanitation,water supply, livelihood, skill development, minor infrastructure etc. It is a flexible scheme and supplements the efforts of the line Ministries/Departments.

  • (iv) Grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution: It is 100 per cent grant from Government of India.Funding under this programme is to enable the State to meet the cost of such schemes of development as may be undertaken by the State for the purpose of promoting the welfare of Scheduled Tribes in that State or raising the level of administration of Scheduled Areas there into that of the administration of the rest of the areas of that State.

  • (v) Adivasi MahilaSashaktikaran Yojana: National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC), an apex organization under Ministry of Tribal Affairs is implementing this exclusive scheme for tribal women. Under the scheme, Scheduled Tribes women can undertake any income generation activity. Loans up to 90 per cent for scheme costing up to Rs.1lakh are provided at a concessional rate of interest of 4 per cent per annum.

11. Women As Part Of Rural Workforce

  • one third of the Indian population comprising of rural women had been vested with the care and nurture of the house hold within many socio-cultural restrictions under the aegis of male hegemony anchored on the historicity of rural patriarchy.

  • Gender discrimination in land ownership: Contradictory to feminization of global farming, women cultivators lack access to fertilizer, seeds, credit, membership in cooperatives and unions, and technical assistance that are bestowed upon the men holding title to the agricultural land of the household (Chowdhry,2009).

  • Feminisation of rural poverty: Lack of access to credits, capital, decent work in addition to dependent children succumb rural women to the vicious cycle of poverty, which is deeper than that of men due to the gender equality in the control and use their own income,household resources etc. to the same degree as men.

  • Malnutrition: Triple role of Women laborers saps their energy and time that renders them weak and undernourished.

  • Poor Health: Consequently, they lack immunity and become vulnerable to ill health and diseases that adversely affect their work participation temporarily or permanently.

  • Lack of Education: Both the option of and being in physical labour precludes the possibility of women to engage in further education.

  • Overwork: By the nature of tasks assigned andthe extent of time augmented from women labourers by masculine hegemony, women labourers are succumbed to over work.

  • Unskilled: Routinised tasks and absence of training renders rural women labourers unskilled for their life-time.

  • Mistreatment: In addition to physical hardship,rural women are subjected to ill treatment, verbal abuse and sometimes even physical violence and abuse which go largely unreported.

  • Powerlessness: Under rural patriarchy operating at home and work place, the women’s work is pervasively undervalued, underrepresented and exploitatively extracted due to women’slack of knowledge about safeguards, inadequate voice in public forums and coercion beneath symbolic violence.


Kurukshetra January 2018

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