The Government has taken several new and forceful initiatives for the protection and welfare of women and children in India during the past twenty months.
Addressing a session on initiatives and achievements of the Women & Child Development Ministry at All India Regional Editors’ Conference in Jaipur today, the WCD Minister, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that some of the key measures include One Stop Centres for women affected by violence, enactment of Juvenile Justice Act 2015, 33 [ercent reservation of women in police workforce, Khoya Paya portal for missing children, MoU with Railways on missing children , schemes of Gender Champions and Special Police Volunteers among others.
The Minister said that Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and was launched at the initiative of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The scheme was initially launched in 100 districts with adverse Child Sex Ratio and encouraged by the results of the scheme, it is now being extended to 61 more districts, the Minister explained. Maneka Gandhi said that details about the ground level performance of the scheme will be made available soon.
Speaking about the new scheme of One Stop Centres launched in July last year, the Minister said that 20 One Stop Centres, called ‘Sakhi’, have already been set up, out of which ten are operational. The Minister announced that 660 such Centres are proposed to be set up. 33% reservation for women has already been operationalised by 7 big states as well as all UTs and the remaining states are expected to implement it soon, which will help to deal with crimes against women more effectively, the Minister explained. Within two months, all new cell phones will have panic buttons for women in distress and old phones will be able to get them installed too, Maneka Gandhi disclosed.
Similarly, MoU signed by WCD Ministry with Railways is a big step forward to trace, restore and rehabilitate missing, trafficked, kidnapped, runaway children, she added. Posters are being pasted in railway coaches, help kiosks are being set up at railway stations and the railway staff is being trained to deal with the problem of children missing via the medium of Railways. In reply to a question, the Minister said that citizen friendly Khoya Paya web portal, created on the initiative of the Prime Minister, will make it easier to generate and share information about missing children and help locate them faster. Childline has been expanded from 200 to 386 cities and will be further expanded to 500 cities and towns.
Speaking on children’s nutrition, the Minister said a massive New National Nutrition is on the anvil which will strive to provide nutritious, balanced and healthy food to children across the country. Junk Food Guidelines for children have been issued on scientific basis for the first time since Independence. Similarly, Extending maternity leave, reforming matrimonial websites, Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, mandatory appointment of a Woman Director on Board by all Companies, Women’s Welfare Committees in all districts etc. seek to enhance the welfare of women in the country, the Minister said.
Vrindavan will have country’s first large facility for nearly 1000 widows where they can live, work, get training etc. Maneka Gandhi disclosed that construction has already started and is expected to be completed within a year. The training of Women Sarpanches will be undertaken from the next month onwards to make them effective leaders to take up economic, social and infrastructure development of villages.
Maneka Sanjay Gandhi earlier inaugurated the Conference. She also inaugurated a photo exhibition at the venue, on the new initiatives of the Government. The Exhibition has been organised by DAVP, a media unit of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
The two day Regional Editors’ Conference has been organised by Press Information Bureau and is being addressed by nine Union Ministers. Editors, Bureau Chiefs and Senior Correspondents representing Regional Media from all over the country are taking part in the Conference.