Women Empowerment, Childcare Paves the Road to Development in Rajasthan
The government of Rajasthan has been meticulously working upon women empowerment and child development to bring about social change.
In order to obliterate gender inequality and gender discrimination, miseries like female feticide, illiteracy, unemployment, ill-health and other nuisances, many remarkable programmes have been doled out in support of women, thus respecting human rights and offering equal opportunities to both the genders.
In spite of the fact that the government has been persistent in solving women oriented problems, there have been plenty of cases of IMR, malnutrition, child mariages, declining sex ratio et el, that shatter the socio- economic status of a woman.
Keeping this in mind the government focused of seven major points and introduced some fruitful programmes like, Safe motherhood, reduction of IMR, Population stabilization, Prevention of child marriages, Retention of girls up to minimum tenth class, Providing security and Safe environment and economic empowerment by providing self employment opportunities.
Over 35 percent of the total budget of the state government, has been proposed as the gender budget component. Gender budgeting takes care of the amount the state govt. spends in its various women oriented schemes, projects and programmes.
It also weighs that whether the spending has a positive impact on gender welfare. Further the state govt. is to provide a huge amount of Rs.1 crore in order to facilitate fertility clinics in the districts that are void of this facility.
To start with, the government has decided to nail the atrocities like child marriages, dowry system and dependency of women. Child marriage has been a cyst to womanhood. An old practice, the tradition may have seen a decline in the past few decades yet it is very much in vogue at some parts of the state.
Child marriage not only snatches a girl's right to education and learning but also affects her mental and physical health. Many awareness programmes have been introduced and an act relating to prohibition of child marriage has been passed by the GOI.
This has assured a relief from this awful practice. And to get rid of the dowry system the government is encouraging collective marriages, wherein each couple receives a grant of rupees 6000. While 25 percent of the amount is given to the organisers, the remaining 75 percent is deposited in the bride's account. Collective marriages shall surely help curb the evils of dowry system.
Education is the key to a better living. And possessing computer knowledge is a basic requirement in the present era. To provide the same to all the women, the government has started free basic course in computers. Every woman can avail the oppurtunity at the 'Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation Ltd.' ( RKCL). The fee for this particular course shall be borne by the government itself. Around 45 lakh women have been benefited with this basic course.
Economic independence has also been a major issue where women are concerned. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been toiling hard to usher schemes and projects that resulted in granting women a fair share of financial independence.
About 30,000 women self-help groups have been aided the facility of interest grant with a view to start own enterprise. Women Self-help groups have been recognised in 32 districts. State-level and district-level training programmes have been completed.
Many self help groups (SHG) have been initiated across the state in order to fuel self dependency among the women folk. The purpose of these SHGs is to support women in training them at various vocational courses, grant them loans and further promote their products in the market thus making them financially strong.
Also a state level SHG haat bazaar has been set up in order to promote marketing of all the SHGs across the state.
Similarly, Regional Women Self Help Group (WSHG) is a praiseworthy idea to launch seven regional WSHG training cum resource centre across the state. These hubs guide women in various spheres like, skill upgradation, trainings and capacity building and also helped to facilitate marketing at various agencies and haat bazaars.
Moreover the government decided to grant the interest rate reimbursement to WSHGs for endorsing timely payment of loans. 2% incentive in the rate of interest charged against the loan was given to those who made a timely re-payment. Thus helping them to lessen the load and also encourage them to make timely re-payment.
Realizing the importance of marketing and promotion, 'Amrita', a society that will promote WSHG products, has been registered. 'Amrita Promotional Activities for Annual Draft Plan' has proved fruitful considering the fact that the society not only sells the products under its brand name but also looks after the market linkages, value addition, design diversification and promotion of the products.
Similarly the 'Priyadarshini model women self help group scheme', aided to enhance the SHG's in each district of the state as model WSHG, also called Priyadarshini WSHG.
Further the NGO's who worked under the field of microfinance, entrepreneurship development, marketing and production activities actively participated to transform the WSHG into model SHG.
Motivation and appreciation of a good work calls for awards and rewards. Showcasing the same , 'Amrita Women Self Help Group Award Scheme' was dawned. Introduction of this scheme encouraged NGO's and WSHG's to improve their performance at the self help group programmes. This further resulted in strengthening the department and also empowering the confidence of women.
In addition to the above, the government has been successful in setting up 44 'ration shops' in various districts across the state to the WSHG. An amount of rupees 75,000 is granted in order to stock the required food items.
Health, they say, is wealth and while women have become hopeful of economic development, thanks to the wshg schemes, one cannot ignore the fact that the healt of most of the women suffers due to lack of availibilty of good food and medication.
Maternal mortality has always been a serious issue in the state. The causes include, low social status of women, malnutrition during pregnancy and post delivery. Hence in order to overcome such miseries, the government has introduced ' Kalewa Scheme' in it's 2010- 2011 budget.
Under the scheme the many medical institutes and community health centers provide three nutritious meals to the mother soon after delivery. So far the scheme has been a tremendous success.
Social security of women always finds raised eyebrows. To guard the social security of women many voluntary organizations have been encouraged to support ' Women Protection and Counseling Centers'. these centers are operated at women police stations across various district headquarters.
These help to deliver the necessary protection and proper guidance to the victims. The government annually aids these organizations with an amount of Rs.3 lakh. In order to prove its commitment towards women empowerment, a gender cell has been constituted in the Women Empowerment Department of the state.
Also in order to put a stop to domestic violence and protect women from the same, the government has appointed 607 security officers and initiated 113 NGO's to shelter such victims.
Child health and education too have been a major concern for many a years now. The government is working on a mission to treat the malnourished children and provide them with adequate nourishment and rehabilitation.
The state has unveiled 26 new schemes and proposed 6543 Anganbadi centers and 3523 mini- Anganbadi centers in order to promote child development. Over 5639 Anganbadi centers and 2372 mini Anganbadi centers are running successfully. Spaces have been allotted to many Anganbadi centers.
As many as 380 Anganbadi centers are proposed to be constructed with the help of NABARD. Anganbadi workers have proved to be a major help in emancipation of women and children. The remuneration of these workers have been increased by rupees 200/- for Anganbadi workers and Rs.100 for both mini worker and helper each.
Alongside instructions have been issued to establish Balika Mandal in each development block for the all round growth of adolescent girls. Such steps indicate a strong interest in building the future of women and children.