IN 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare. Simultaneously, the Scheduled Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Division were shifted from the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Wakf Division from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare.
Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in May 1998. Further, in October 1999, the Tribal Development Division was moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In January 2007 the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit were moved out of the Ministry and formed a separate Ministry and the Child Development Division was merged with the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Two departments have been created under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment:
- Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag)
- Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag) since renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan).
Events Related to Scheduled Caste Welfare
- On 29 August 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to prepare a draft Constitution for India.
- It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into effect on 26 January 1950.
- With its adoption, the Union of India became the modern and contemporary Republic of India replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document.
- The Constitution declares India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity among them.
- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is regarded as the principal architect in the framing of the Constitution of India which is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world.
- The national committee that was formed under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister for celebrating the 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar decided to increase awareness about the Constitution.
The welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
- The Constitution contains several provisions in the nature of safeguards for the Scheduled Castes.
- The following two Acts specifically aim at curbing untouchability and atrocities against SCs and STs, and are therefore very important for the Scheduled Castes:
- The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955
- The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
Protection of Civil Rights
- In pursuance of Article 17 of the Constitution of India, the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1955 was enacted.
- Subsequently, it was amended and renamed in 1976 as the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955.
- Rules under this Act, viz., The Protection of Civil Rights Rules, 1977 were notified in 1977.
- The Act extends to the whole of the country and provides punishment for the practice of untouchability.
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act:
- The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (The PoA Act) came into force in 1990.
- This legislation aims at preventing the commission of offenses by persons other than scheduled castes and scheduled tribes against scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
- Comprehensive Rules under this Act, titled Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 were notified in 1995, which, inter-alia, provide norms for relief and rehabilitation.
- These Rules had not been amended thereafter.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 and 2016:
- Based on the consultation process with all the stakeholders, amendments in the PoA Act were proposed to broadly cover five areas.
- There has been an addition of several new offences and rephrasing of existing ones.
- The establishment of exclusive special courts for the speedy trial of offences of atrocities against the members of SCs and STs and the specification of exclusive special public prosecutor is provided.
- A new chapter relating to the Rights of Victims and Witnesses is inserted.
- Relief amount for 47 offences of atrocities is provided for and phasing of payment of relief amount rationalized.
- Relief amount is enhanced between ? 85,000/- to ? 8,25,000/- depending upon the nature of the offence.
- The admissible relief is to be paid within seven days.
- Investigation and Filing of charge sheet is to be done within sixty days.
National Commission for Scheduled Castes:
- The National Commission for SCs and STs (NCSC) which was set up under Article 383 of the Constitution in 1990 was bifurcated into two Commissions namely, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes after the 89th Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 2003
- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes is responsible for monitoring the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes and also to review issues concerning their welfare
- Functions of the NCSC as enumerated in Article 338(5) of the Constitution are:
- To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the scheduled castes under the Constitution or under any other law
- To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes
- To participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the scheduled castes
- To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards
National Overseas Scholarship for SCs
Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana
Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for SC Students
Special Central Assistance
Scheduled Castes Sub Plan
Scheduled Castes Development Corporations
National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation
Venture Capital Fund for
Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes
Welfare of Persons with Disabilities
- Aimed at welfare and empowerment of the Persons with Disabilities, a separate Department of Disability Affairs was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2012.
- According to Census 2011, there are 2.68 crores (1.50 crore are men and 1.18 crore are women) persons with disabilities in the country (who constitute 2.21 percent of the total population).
- These include persons with visual, hearing, speech and locomotor disabilities, mental illness, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, and other disabilities.
- All Fundamental Rights are available to the Persons with Disabilities even though no specific mention of such persons appear in this Part of the Constitution.
- Besides, Eleventh Schedule to Article 243-G and Twelfth Schedule to Article 243-W, which pertain to the powers and responsibilities of the Panchayats and municipalities respectively, include welfare and safeguarding the interests of Persons with Disabilities among other weaker sections of the society.
- Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), has formulated the accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs.
- The Department is collaborating with the Ministry of Home, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Tourism for creating “accessible police station”, “accessible hospitals” and “accessible tourism” respectively across the country.
Persons with Disability:
- Section 2 (t) of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, defines a person suffering from not less than 40 percent of any disability as certified by a medical authority.
Mental Health Act:
- Mental illness has been recognized as one of the disabilities under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
- The treatment and care of the mentally ill persons are governed by the Mental Health Act, 1987.
- The Act is administered by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Persons with Disabilities Act:
- A comprehensive law, namely, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 was enacted and enforced in 1996.
- The law deals with both prevention and promotion aspects of the rehabilitation such as education, employment and vocational training, creation of barrier-free environment, provision of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, institutional services and supportive social security measures like unemployment allowance and grievance redressal machinery both at the central and state level.
- The Rehabilitation Council of India is a statutory body set up under the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992.
- Its functions include:
- Standardization and regulation of training courses at different levels in all the training institutions throughout the country
- Recognition of institutions/universities running training courses in the area of rehabilitation of the disabled within and outside the country on a reciprocal basis
- Promotion of research in rehabilitation and special education
- The National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC) is an apex-level financial institution for extending credit facilities to persons with disabilities for their economic development.
- Funds assistance is disbursed through the channelising agencies authorized by the state governments/UT administrations and non-governmental organizations.
- It also extends loans for pursuing education at the graduate and higher levels.
Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase of Appliances:
- Under the Scheme for Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of AIDs and Appliances assistance is given for procuring durable, sophisticated, and scientifically manufactured, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation by reducing the impact of disability and enhance their economic potential.
Development of Scheduled Tribes:
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs was set up in 1999 after the bifurcation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the objective of providing a more focused approach on the integrated socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas:
- In order to protect the interests of scheduled tribes with regard to land alienation and other social
- factors, provisions of the Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule have been enshrined in the Constitution.
- The Fifth Schedule under Article 244 (1) of the Constitution defines “Scheduled Areas” as such areas as the President may by Order declare to be Scheduled Areas after consultation with the Governor of the state.
- The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 (2) of the Constitution relates to those areas in the states of
- Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram which are declared as “Tribal Areas” and provides for district councils and/or regional councils for such areas.
- These Councils have been conferred with wide-ranging legislative, judicial, and executive powers.
- The specification of “Scheduled Areas” in relation to a state is done by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the state governments concerned.
- The same applies for altering, increasing, decreasing, incorporating new areas, or rescinding any orders relating to “Scheduled Areas”.
- The advantages of Scheduled Areas are that:
- The Governor of a state, which has Scheduled Areas, is empowered to make regulations.
- The Governor may through public notification direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the legislature of the state, shall not apply to a Scheduled Area or any part thereof in the state or shall apply to such area subject to such exceptions and modifications as he may specify
- The Governor of a state having Scheduled Areas therein, shall annually, or whenever so required by the President of India, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas in that state
- Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) shall be established in states having Scheduled Areas.
- The role of TAC is to advise the state government on matters pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the scheduled tribes in the state as may be referred to it by the Governor.
- The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), vide which the provisions of Panchayats, contained in Part IX of the Constitution, were extended to Scheduled Areas, also contain special provisions for the benefit of scheduled tribes.
- The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 of the Constitution identifies autonomous districts in the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
- It also makes provisions for the recognition of autonomous regions within these autonomous districts.
Procedure for Declaration as ST:
- The term scheduled tribes is defined in the Constitution of India under Article 366(25) as such tribes or tribal communities or parts of groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be scheduled tribes.
- Article 342 prescribes the procedure to be followed in the matter of specification of scheduled tribes.
- In terms of Article 342(1), the President may, with respect to any state or union territory, and where it is a state, after consultation with the Governor thereof, notify tribes or tribal communities or parts thereof as scheduled tribes.
- Thus, in terms of Article 342(1), only those communities who have been declared as such by the President through an initial public notification will be considered as scheduled tribes.
- Any further amendment in the list is to be done through an Act of Parliament (Article 342(2)). Parliament may, by law, include in or exclude from the list of scheduled tribes, any tribe or tribal community or parts thereof.
- The list of scheduled tribes is state-specific. In other words, a community declared as scheduled tribe in one state need not be so in another.
Scheduling and De-Scheduling of Tribes:
- Thus, the first specification of scheduled tribes in relation to a particular state/ union territory is by a notified order of the President, after consultation with the state governments concerned.
- There are over 700 tribes (with many of them overlapping in more than one state) as notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India, spread over different states and union territories of the country.
- It is worth noting that no community has been specified as a scheduled tribe in relation to the states of Haryana and Punjab and the union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi and Puducherry.
Scheduled Tribe claims on Migration:
- The prescribed authority of a state government/union territory administration may issue a scheduled tribe certificate to a person who migrated from another state, on the production of the genuine certificate issued to his father/mother by the prescribed authority of the state of the father/mother’s origin except where the prescribed authority feels that a detailed enquiry is necessary through the state of origin before issue of the certificate.
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes:
- National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was set up with effect from 19th February, 2004 by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution, through the Constitution (Eighty-ninth Amendment) Act, 2003.
- The Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the Commission have been conferred the rank of Union Cabinet Minister and Minister of State respectively, while the members of the Commission have been given the rank of a Secretary to the Government of India.
- The main duties of the Commission are to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the scheduled tribes and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
- The Commission is vested with all the powers of a civil court trying a suit while investigating any matter or inquiring into any complaint relating to deprivation of rights and safeguards of the scheduled tribes.
National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation:
- The erstwhile National Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Financial Development Corporation were bifurcated and the National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC) was set up in 2001 under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The NSTFDC has been granted a license under Section 25 of the Companies Act (A Company not for profit).
- Eligibility Criteria:
- The beneficiary (ies) should belong to ST community and annual family income of the beneficiary (ies) should not exceed double the poverty line (DPL) income limit (presently DPL is ? 39,500/- per annum for the rural areas and ? 54,500/- per annum for the urban areas).
- In the case of Self Help Groups (SHGs), all the members of the SHG should belong to the ST community having annual family income up to Double the Poverty Line (DPL).
Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation:
- The TRIFED, was set up in 1987 as a national level apex body under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 (MSCS Act, 1984).
- After the enactment of the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002 (MSCS Act, 2002) TRIFED is deemed to be registered under the latter Act and is also listed in the Second Schedule to the Act as a National Cooperative Society.
- TRIFED now functions as a ‘market developer’ for tribal products and as ‘service provider’ to its member federations.
Forest Rights of STs:
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 seeks to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in forest land in forest-dwelling scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been residing in such forests for generations but chose rights on ancestral lands and their habitat were not adequately recognized in the consolidation of state forests during the colonial period as well as in independent India resulting in historical injustice to them.
- The Act has been notified for operation from 2007.
- Rules, for implementing the provisions of the Act, were notified in 2008.
- All the states have been requested to nominate the nodal officer for implementing the provisions of the Act.
- As per the Act, the responsibility for recognition and vesting of forest rights and distribution of land rights rests with the state government.
Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana:
- The central government launched an approach, namely, Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana (VKY) with a view to translate the available resource into overall development of tribal population with an outcome-based orientation.
Welfare of Other Backward Classes
- The Second Backward Classes Commission (commonly known as Mandal Commission), constituted under Article 340, submitted its report in 1980.
- In the light of this report, the Government of India provided 27 percent reservation in central government posts for persons belonging to the socially and economically backward classes, (also referred to as “Other Backward Classes” or OBCs).
- With the amendment of Article 15 of the Constitution in 2006 and the enactment of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act in 2007, the listing of other backward classes has become relevant for admission in central educational institutions also.
- Under this Act, OBC students are entitled to 27 percent reservation in central educational institutions in a phased manner, over a period of three years commencing from the academic session 2008-09.
- The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was set up in 1993 as per the provision of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
- The Constitution (102 Amendment) Act of 2018 gave constitutional status to the Commission.
National Policy for Older Persons
National Council for Older Persons
Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
- The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, was enacted, inter alia, to curb drug abuse.
- Section 71 of the Act provides that the Government may, in its discretion, establish as many centres as it thinks fit for identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation, social reintegration of addicts.
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Policy:
- Ministry of Finance in consultation with all stakeholders including the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment has brought the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Policy (NDPS Policy).
- Spell out the policy towards narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances
- Serve as a guide to various ministries and organisations in the government and to the state governments as well as international organisations, NGOs, etc.
- The Ministry of Minority Affairs was established in 2006.
- It has been mandated for formulation of policies, schemes and programmes for welfare and socio-economic development of 6 (six) notified minority communities namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains, which constitute more than 19 per cent of India’s population.
- From October 2016, the mandate of the Ministry has been expanded to manage Haj Pilgrimage as well.
15-Point Programme for Minorities:
- The Prime Minister’s 15-Point programme for the Welfare of Minorities was announced in 2006.
- Enhancing opportunities for education,
- Ensuring an equitable share for minorities in economic activities and employment
- Improving the conditions of living of minorities by ensuring an appropriate share for them in infrastructure development schemes
Maulana Azad National Fellowship:
- The Maulana AzadNational Fellowship (MANF) scheme for minority students was launched in 2009 as a Central Sector Scheme (CSS).
- It is implemented through the University Grants Commission (UGC) and cent percent central assistance is provided under the Scheme.
- Objective: To provide five-year fellowships in the form of financial assistance to students from minority communities, notified by the central government to pursue higher studies such as M.Phil and Ph.D courses.
- The objective of the Scheme is to provide financial support to the minority candidates clearing prelims conducted by Union Public Service Commission, Staff Selection Commission and State Public Service Commissions to adequately equip them to compete for appointment to Civil Services in the Union and the state governments and to increase the representation of the minority in the civil services by giving direct financial support to candidates.
- The objective of the Scheme is to award interest subsidy to meritorious students belonging to economically weaker sections of notified minority communities so as to provide them better opportunities for higher education abroad and enhance their employability.
- The interest subsidy under the Scheme shall be available to the eligible students only once, either for masters or PhD levels.
- This Ministry implements an exclusive scheme ‘Nai Roshni’ for leadership development of minority women.
- Aim: To empower and instill confidence in them by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with government systems, banks and intermediaries at all levels.
- It is implemented through empanelled non-governmental organizations.
National Commission for Minorities:
- The Minorities Commission which was set up in 1978 became a statutory body with the enactment of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 after which it was renamed as the National Commission for Minorities.
- The first statutory National Commission was set up in 1993.
- With the 1995 amendment, the Commission’s composition was expanded to 7 members (including a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson).
State Commission for Minorities:
- Thirteen state governments, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Government of NCT of Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have set up statutory commissions for minorities.
- Manipur and Uttarakhand have set up non-statutory commissions.
National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities
Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities
Constitutional Safeguards for Linguistic Minorities
Central Wakf Council
Durgah Khawaja Saheb Act
Women and Child Development
- A separate Ministry of Women and Child Development came into existence from 2006.
- The Ministry has the main responsibility to advance the rights and concerns of women and children and to promote their survival, protection, development, and participation in a holistic manner.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao:
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao is one the flagship programs of the Government, launched in 2015 to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and address other related issues of disempowerment of women.
- CSR is the number of girls against 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years.
- It is a tri- ministerial, convergent effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
- The specific objectives of the Scheme include:
- Preventing gender-biased sex selective elimination
- Ensuring survival and protection of the girl child
- Ensuring education and participation of the girl child
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:
- The government announced the pan India implementation of maternity benefits program to eligible pregnant women(PW) and lactating mothers(LM).
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme under which the grant-in-aid is PMMVY released to states/UTs in the cost-sharing ratio between the center and the states and UTs with legislature as 60:40, for north-eastern states and Himalayan states it will be 90:10 and 100 percent for union territories without legislature.
- PMMVY envisages providing cash incentives amounting to ? 5,000/- directly to the bank/post office account of PW and LM in DBT mode during pregnancy and lactation.
- Poshan Abhiyaan is a flagship program of the Ministry of Women and Child Development which ensures convergence with various programs.
- It focuses to lay emphasis on the first 1000 days of the child, which includes the nine months of pregnancy, six months of exclusive breastfeeding, and the period from 6 months to 2 years to ensure focused interventions on addressing undernutrition.
- It will help reduce both Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR).
Mahila Shakti Kendra:
- Government of India approved the Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) Scheme in 2017 for its implementation from 2017-18 to 2019-20 to empower rural women through community participation.
- The Scheme aims to provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for availing their entitlements and also empowering them through training and capacity building.
- MSK Scheme is being implemented with a cost sharing ratio of 60:40 between centre and states except for north eastern and special category states where the funding ratio is 90:10.
One Stop Centres:
- A new initiative to establish One Stop Centres (OSC) was conceived and is being implemented across the country since April 2015.
- A woman who has suffered violence can get medical, police, legal and psychological counseling assistance at these centres.
- At least one such centre will be established in each district by the end of 2018-19.
- The scheme is implemented through the state/UT government.
- The management committee headed by District Collector is responsible for the day to day operation of the OSC.
Universalisation of Women Helpline:
- The Scheme of Universalisation of Women Helpline is being implemented since 2015, intended to provide 24 hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence through referral (linking with appropriate authority such as police, One Stop Centre, hospital) and information about women related government schemes/programmes across the country through a single uniform number (181).
- The Ministry is implementing the Swadhar Greh Scheme which targets the women who have been victims of unfortunate circumstances and who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity.
- The cost-sharing ratio of 60:40 between the centre and the states except for the North Eastern and Himalayan States where it shall be 90:10 and for UTs it is 100 per cent from 2016.
Reservation for Women in Police Force:
- An advisory has been issued to all state governments to increase the representation of women in police to 33 percent of the total strength.
- So far 8 states viz., Bihar, Gujarat, Odisha, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and 6 UTs namely Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, NCT Delhi, Puducherry have aleady extended such reservation.
Inclusion of Acid Attack as Disability:
- The recently enacted Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 notified in 2016, included acid attack as a kind of disability.
- Acid attack victims can now avail disability benefits.
Gender Budgeting Initiatives:
- Gender Budgeting (GB) is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that the benefits of development reach women as much as men.
- To institutionalize such budgeting in the country, the setting up of Gender Budgeting Cells (GBCs) in all ministries/departments was mandated by the Ministry of Finance in 2007.
- The MWCD as the nodal agency for gender budgeting is undertaking several initiatives for taking it forward at the national and state levels.
- 21 states and union territories have designated Gender Budgeting nodal centers.
Training for Women Heads of Panchayats:
- In order to empower the women at the grass-root level, WCD has initiated a massive program to train over 2 lakh women heads of Panchayats.
- The training was started from 2016 onwards in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development.
- The training modules cover all aspects of village-level management including basic knowledge of government schemes, social issues and their resolution, management of panchayat finances, village infrastructure, etc.
- This Scheme is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Extending Maternity Leave Duration:
- The WCD Ministry has been working to extend the maternity leave period for working women to seven months to enable them to provide exclusive breastfeeding to children for six months after child birth and complementary foods thereafter to help reduce incidence of malnutrition.
- Ministry of Labour and Employment carried out suitable amendments in the Act:
- Enhancement of maternity leave under Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks
- Extension of maternity benefit to adopting mothers and commissioning mothers
- Establishment of crèche facility within the office/factory premises
- The Act is now called the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace:
- To ensure safety and security of women at workplaces, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is working towards the effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
- In this regard, advisories and monitoring framework have been issued to state governments/central ministries/ departments to ensure the effective implementation of the sexual harassment Act.
Village Convergence and Facilitation Service:
- Village Convergence and Facilitation Service (VCFS) is an initiative launched in 2015 aimed at creating awareness through community engagement.
- Dedicated village coordinators are selected to facilitate convergence on women’s issues and work in close coordination with the gram panchayat and its subcommittees.
Women of India Exhibitions/Festivals:
- The Initiative was started in 2014 to link women organic farmers and entrepreneurs directly to the market.
- Three such exhibitions/ festivals have already been held in Delhi, many more such exhibitions/festivals are being organised in locations outside Delhi.
- Such events are being held to provide a platform so that women entrepreneurs and farmers especially from rural India get an opportunity to exhibit and sell their products.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched “Mahila e- Haat”, a unique direct online digital marketing platform for women entrepreneurs/SHOs/NGOs in 2016.
- The USP of Mahila e-haat is facilitating direct contact between the vendor and buyer.
National Policy for Women:
- The Draft National Policy for Women, 2016, is in its last stages of finalization.
- It has been revised after 15 years and is expected to guide government action on women’s issues over the next 15-20 years.
- The policy addresses women’s issues on a life-cycle continuum and encompasses a wide spectrum of issues from education, health, economic participation, decision making, violence, creation of an enabling environment, etc.
Legislation on Trafficking:
- Ministry of Women and Child Development has drafted a comprehensive legislation on Trafficking - Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2017 with a view to fill the existing gaps and cover all aspects of trafficking by including various offenses pertaining to trafficking prevention, protection and rehabilitation of victims.
Initiatives for Women
Trafficking of Persons
Nari Shakti Puraskar
- A major part of India’s population—around 158 million consists of children in age of 0-6 years (2011 Census).
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development is administering various schemes for the welfare, development and protection of children.
- Khoya-Paya Portal: In order to bring citizen participation for protecting children, a new citizen-based portal Khoya-Paya was launched in 2015 which enables posting of information of missing and sighted children.
- Between June 2015 and March 2017, 7671 missing/sighted children cases were closed on the portal.
- Expansion of Childline: This Childline is a nation-wide initiative for rescuing and assisting children in distress conditions.
- In order to provide with a safe and anonymous mode of making a complaint, an internet-based facility, e-Box, has been provided.
- Here, a child or anyone on his/her behalf can file a complaint with minimal details.
- POCSO ebox launched in 2016, has received and handled 300 complaints.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules, 2016 (JJ Model Rules, 2016) was notified thereby repealing the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007 (JJ Rules, 2007).
- The JJ Model Rules, 2016 are based on the philosophy that children need to be reformed and reintegrated into society.
- The JJ Model Rules, 2016 prescribe detailed child-friendly procedures for the police, Juvenile Justice Board and children’s court.
- Some of these procedures include: no child to be sent to jail or lock-up, no child to be handcuffed, a child to be provided appropriate medical assistance, parent/guardian to be informed about legal aid, etc.
Comprehensive Adoption Reforms:
- The government has notified the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Chapter VIII of the Act provisions for adoption of orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children and also the adoption of children by relatives.
- Central Adoption Resource Agency has been reconstituted as Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) under this Act.
- The Adoption Regulations were notified in 2017 and in supersession of Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015. Registering online with Central Adoptions Resource Authority (CARA) is mandatory to adopt a child from anywhere in India.
- Central Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) is the only official portal of CARA for the legal adoption process.
- Under Section 80 and 81 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 any person or agency who indulges in illegal adoption shall be punished.
- The Adoption Regulations contain the provisions for in-country and inter-country adoptions of OAS (orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered) children.
- Procedures related to adoption by relatives both within the country and abroad have been defined in the Regulations.
- The adoption of step-children has been brought in.
National Nutrition Mission:
- National Nutrition Mission (NNM) is proposed to achieve improvement in the nutritional status of children (O-6years), adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers in a time-bound manner over a period of three years.
- Preventing and reducing under-nutrition in children (0-3 years)
- Reducing the prevalence of anaemia among young children (6-59 months)
- Reducing the prevalence of anaemia among women and adolescent girls (15-49 years)
- The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme now known as Anganwadi Services Scheme was launched in 1975.
- To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years
- Lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child
- Reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropouts
- Enhance the capability of the mothers to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the children through proper nutrition and health education
- The beneficiaries of the scheme are children below six years of age, pregnant and lactating mothers.
- It is self-selecting and is open to all the beneficiaries without any pre-condition.
- In pursuance of the provisions contained in the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, the Ministry has notified the (under the Integrated Child Development Scheme Rules, 2017) in 2017 to regulate the entitlement specified under provisions of said Act for every pregnant woman and lactating mother till 6 months after childbirth, and every child in the age group of 6 months to 6 years (including those suffering from malnutrition) for 300 days in a year, as per the nutritional standards specified in Schedule II of the said Act.
- In case of non-supply of the entitled quantities of foodgrains or meals to entitled persons, such persons shall be entitled to receive such food security allowance from the concerned state government, within such time and manner as may be prescribed by the central government.
- MWCD implementing the International Development Association (IDA) assisted in 162 high burden districts of 8 states in the country covering 3.68 lakh Anganwadi Centres.
- To strengthen the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) policy framework, to ensure greater focus on children under three years of age
- One of the key activities in ICDS System’s Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) is Information and Communication Technology that enabled Real-Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of ICDS.
Scheme for Adolescent Girls:
- Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) was introduced in 2010-11 and is operational in 205 selected districts across the country.
- It aims at all-round on pilot basis development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years.
- The Scheme is being implemented through the state governments/UTs with the cost-sharing ratio between the center and the states and UTs (with legislatures) in the ratio of 50:50 for nutrition and 60:40 for rest of the components.
- For eight northeastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim) and three special categories Himalayan states (H.P., J & K and Uttrakhand), the share of center and state is in the ratio of 90:10.
- Union territories (without legislatures) are funded 100 percent of the financial norms or the actual expenditure incurred whichever is less.
- Anganwadi Centre (AWC) is the focal point for the delivery of the services.
- The Scheme has two major components:
- Nutrition: The out-of-school adolescent girls (11-14 years) attending AWCs and all-girls (14-18 years) are provided supplementary nutrition in the form of take-home ration/hot cooked meals.
- Non-nutrition: Out-of-school adolescent girls of 11-18 years are being provided health check-up, and referral services, nutrition and health education, Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH) counseling/ guidance on family welfare, life skill education and vocational training (only 16-18-year-old adolescent girls).
Junk Food Guidelines:
- Junk Food Guidelines have been developed and forwarded to MHRD and MoHFW for implementation.
- MHRD has requested all CBSE affiliated schools to follow them.
- It has also been suggested in the guidelines that vendors/ street vendors should not be permitted to sell these foods during school timings in a vicinity of 200 meters from any school.
Major Initiatives of Food and Nutrition Board:
- A comprehensive regulation on fortification of Foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standard's (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016 was operationalized which sets the standards for fortification of major staple foods namely, wheat flour, rice, milk, edible oil, and salt.
National Plan of Action for Children:
- The National Plan of Action for Children (NPAC), 2016 is based on the principles embedded in the National Policy for Children, 2013.
- The Action Plan has four key priority areas: survival, health, and nutrition; education and development; protection; and participation.
- The NPAC seeks to ensure convergence of ongoing programs and initiation of new programs.
National Creche Scheme:
- The National Creche Scheme is being implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme through the states/UTs from 2017 to provide day-care facilities to children of working mothers and other deserving women.
National Early Childhood Care and Education:
- Ministry launched the National Early Childhood Care and Education (NECCE) Policy in 2013.
- The National ECCE council has been recognized as a national level organization under the Ministry as notified by the Government of India, for providing systems of training, curriculum framework, standards, and related activities.
- The main objective of the Council is to embed the concept and practice for holistic and integrated development with requisite quality for young children in the age group of 0-6 years.
Enrolment of Children below Six Years Under Aadhaar:
- The Aadhaar Act has been notified conferring legal status upon the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to issue Aadhaar to residents of India including children below five years.
- UIDAI has advised the WCD department of states/UTs to get on-boarded as Registrar for Aadhaar enrolment of children below five years.
- The services under the Anganwadi Services are delivered through Anganwadi Centres to the target group of children (0-6 years) and these children are more easily accessible at the Anganwadi Centres.
- States/ UTs have been asked for organizing Aadhaar Enrolment Camps at least twice a year in every Anganwadi to ensure that every new child beneficiary joining AWC has Aadhaar.
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