Conference of State Ministers, Ministry of Women and Child

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Two very important Schemes of the WCD Ministry – the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls – ‘SABLA’ and the ‘Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana’ (IGMSY in short) will be discussed threadbare in the conference of the States’ Ministers in charge of Women and Child Development, in New Delhi tomorrow. The Minister of Women and Child Development Smt. Krishna Tirath will chair the Conference of State Ministers to elicit the implementation problems and to collectively work towards achieving the mandate of ensuring overall survival, development, protection and participation of women and children of the country. Both these schemes cater to two very vulnerable groups amongst both women and children, namely, adolescent girls and pregnant working women. Whereas SABLA aims to address the needs of adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years, the IGMSY looks to secure social protection for pregnant working women by providing part compensation of wage losses incurred due to pregnancy and post delivery circumstances.

The Agenda of the conference include:

1. Improving delivery under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme and addressing malnutrition
2. Status of implementation of Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) –“SABLA”
3. State of Preparedness of “Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY)”
4. Progress in implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)
5. Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010
6. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2010
7. Any other item with the permission of Chair

The Prime Minister’s National Council for India’s Nutrition Challenges for giving policy directions and for reviewing & achieving effective coordination amongst various programmes deliberated on 24th November 2010 on the status of malnutrition, restructuring of ICDS and other recommendations emanating from the several consultations on the joint Strategy Paper to address India’s Nutrition Challenges prepared by Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The Council has decided as under:

(i) Strengthen and restructure the ICDS scheme with special focus on pregnant and lactating mothers and children under three along with strong institutional convergence with National Rural Health Mission and Total Sanitation Campaign particularly at district and village level. It needs to provide for flexibility for local action and empower mothers and community to have a stake in the programme.

(ii) Introduction of a multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burden districts with a view to bring together various national programmes through strong institutional and programmatic convergence at State, District, Block and Village level.

(iii) Introducing a nationwide information, education and communication campaign against malnutrition to address issues of status of women, care of pregnant mothers and children under two, breast feeding, balanced nutrition, health, hygiene and sanitation. This will be with active involvement of people’s representatives, civil society activists, media persons and leaders of entertainment industry

(iv) Making nutrition a focus in the programmes in schemes of Ministries dealing with health, agriculture, food and public distribution.

Ministry of Women & Child Development is contemplating a road map as a follow up on the above decisions.

ICPS is being implemented from the financial year 2009-10 through the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. So far, thirty one (31) States/ UTs have signed the MOU for implementation of the scheme. The States of Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand have conveyed that they would be signing the MoU shortly. This would leave only A&N Island and Jammu & Kashmir.

Fourteen (14) States were cumulatively sanctioned an amount of Rs. 33.33 crores in 2009-10 besides Rs. 9.33 crores sanctioned to Childline India Foundation (CIF). In 2010-11 Rs. 76.67 crores have been released to thirteen (13) State Governments & CIF while approvals have been given to the financial proposals of seventeen (17) State Governments. Proposals from three (3) more States Governments are under consideration and will be appraised shortly by the Project Approval Board (PAB) for the scheme.

The ‘Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010’ was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the 7th of December, 2010. It seeks to provide every woman, irrespective of her age or employment status, a safe and secure environment, free from sexual harassment. It is a comprehensive legislation which covers every workplace, whether in the organised or unorganised sector and lays down a complaints and redressal mechanism.

Ministry of Women and Child Development has also proposed to enact a special law for “Protection of Children from Sexual Offences”, which regards the best interests and well being of the Child as of paramount importance at every stage of the judicial process, and incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and trial of offences. For the first time, a special Bill has been prepared for enactment as a law to address the issue of sexual offences against children. Child friendly provisions have been introduced as a step towards developing child jurisprudence in the country. It is expected that after this becomes law, it will contribute to the safety and security of children and stringent punishment proposed under the Bill will act as deterrent for offenders. The Bill has been circulated to all State Governments for their views/comments. The States have to deliberate on it and give their comments, if any.


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