Women and Child Development, Everyone feels the need to be empowered, to feel like they are a person of their own. Women and child development is one of the essential programs for the development of the nation and also the one less talked about.
Success is only meaningful and enjoyable when it’s your own. – Michelle Obama
The department of women and child development was setup in the year 1985 under the ministry of Human Resource Development. This department was later upgraded to a ministry in January 2006. Currently headed by Smt. Smriti Irani, the ministry has 6 autonomous organizations working under. They are:
- National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
NIPCCD was setup in 1966 in New Delhi and it looks into training and documentation in the overall domain of women and child development. Over a period of time, this institution has established four Regional Centres at Guwahati (1978), Bangalore (1980), Lucknow (1982) and Indore (2001). The performance of the institution was recognized by UNICEF in 1985 when it awarded the Maurice Pate Award for its contribution in Child development.
- National Commission for Women (NCW)
Setup in 1992, this organization reviews the constitutional and legal safeguards for women; recommended remedial legislative measures; advice the government on policy matters regarding women.
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
Setup for children (0-18 age group), this organization was founded in year 2007 in New Delhi and is currently leaded by Mr. Priyank Kanongoo as the chairman. There are several functions of NCPCR which mainly includes insurance that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
CARA was established in 1990 under the Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is mandated to promote and regulate in-country adoption and to facilitate inter-State adoptions in co-ordination with State Agency. They have a trained staff to attend the calls that CARA receives especially from PAPs (Potential Adoptive Parents) and guide them about the specific procedure for the process of registration on CARINGS (Central Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System).
- Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
Founded in 1953, this organization focuses on welfare activities for promoting voluntarism, providing technical and financial assistance to the voluntary organisations for the general welfare of family, women and children. It generates awareness about the challenges of a society in transition where negative use of technologies and practices are impacting on the wellbeing of women and children.
- Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
(RMK) was established by the Government of India in March, 1993 as an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women & Child Development. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860. This organization leads the advancement of women and children aims towards providing socio-economic and financial empowerment to women.
All these organisations are fully funded by the government.
We are in 21st century and women are still told that they don’t ‘belong’ in the outside world. Women out there still feel inferiority right from the childhood when their brother is allowed to be out late and they are not allowed to step outside after 7p.m., to adulthood when their husband is working late but she is not allowed to make money for the family despite being as capable as her husband. In both these cases all women are told to do is contain themselves within four walls. And this is not where it ends. Women, to this day are victims of rape, domestic violence, dowry, trafficking etc.
For protection of women against all these evil practices, this nodal Ministry of Women and Child Development administered various acts. The women related acts are as follows:
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- National Commission Act for Women, 1990
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention), 1987
- The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961/1986
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956/1986
- Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 (Penalized acid attack, sexual harassment, stalking; increased penalty for gang-rape and causing serious injury to the victim; Provision for rape expanded and pre-medical treatment to victims)
Humanity will only reach its full potential when the upcoming generation does. Therefore, the future of a nation needs to be secure for all kinds of reasons like economic, social, financial, etc. Children should be taught not only to count but also ‘what counts’. Every single child deserves to learn and then decide for themselves about what they want to do further. Children, even now are subjected to cruelty like child marriage, child labor, trafficking malnutrition, and the list goes on. Women and Child Development Ministry administered some child-related acts for the protection of children and their future. They are:
- Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
- The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as amended in 2006 and 2011
- The Infant Milk Substitute, Feeding Bottles and Infant Food Act, 1992/2003
Women and Child Development Schemes
Launched in 2001-02 this scheme benefits women living under difficult circumstances by providing them the basic necessities, emotional support, and counseling and arrange for clinical, legal, and/or other support for women in need.
- WORKING WOMEN HOSTEL
This scheme was introduced in 1972-73. Here govt. provides financial assistance on the construction of the building and builds a hostel safe for accommodation working women and provision for a daycare center for the children of the inmates.
This is a central sector scheme to combat trafficking. It has 5 components- prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and regeneration of victims and commercial sexual exploitation.
- RAJIV GANDHI SCHEME FOR EMPOWERMENT OF ADOLSCENT GIRLS (RGSEAG)- SABLA
Introduced in 2010-11, this scheme aims for the holistic development of adolescent girls. Improvement in their health, nutritional status, education, vocational training, counseling, and guidance is the vision of this scheme.
Also, other organizations like Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP), Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), and National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) etc. had a big role to play.
- INTEGRATED CHILD DEVELOPMENT SERVICE (ICDS) SCHEME
The scheme focuses on the improvement of nutritional and health status of children of 0-6 age groups and also pregnant and nursing mothers.
Imbalanced nutrition is a multi-dimensional issue. The ministry set-up comprises a technical wing at centre, four regional offices with quality control labs, and 43 committee food.
Launched in 2006, this scheme provides day-care facilities to children (0-6 age group) of those families whose income isn’t more than Rs. 12,000/-. It also provides basic health care inputs like polio drops, immunization etc.
There are also other schemes like the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme, the Scheme for the welfare of Working Children in Need of Care and Protection, etc.
Necessity of Women and Child Development in Rural Areas
Women in rural areas play a key role in agriculture and food production, but sadly they have less exposure and lesser benefits like improved food, improved nutritional security. Basically, they are robbed of a better livelihood. If provided, women along with men can bring a bigger change and much more improved results. If provided the same as male farmers, female farmers can help the agriculture output rise up to 4% which roughly translates to 150 million people. This means that 150 million less people would go to bed hungry. The problem here is that rural women are unaware of this economy-changing power they hold. To resolve this issue, govt. launched a programme called Development of Women and Child in Rural Areas (DWCRA).
This scheme was merged with the SGSY scheme in the year 1999. Its main vision was to make women of the rural area empowered and accessible to their basic rights like employment, skill upgradation, training credit, and other support services. Women as a group can take up income-generating activities for supplementing their and their family’s incomes. This also encouraged collective action in the form of a group, which of course proved out to be better and more sustainable than individual effort. The beneficiaries and stipend were paid.
So, women and child development is a necessity for the nation to ensure its smooth running and a brighter future. It is a big step towards all-around development. As long as women are denied equal rights as men the country will operate itself lower to its actual potential. The government has come up with amazing initiatives for the development of women and children, we as responsible citizens need to be aware of that and make sure that no one is denied their basic rights. After all, these children will be running the country one day and women don’t always need a knight, sometimes all they need is a sword.