New dimensions added to child & women welfare, India

The year saw number of new initiatives in the areas of development and welfare of children and women. Laws were made more stringent to ban Child Marriage and protection of juvenile, Amendments initiated in Immoral Traffic Act and Prevention of Sati and a scheme for rehabilitation of trafficked victims was launched to give message that women welfare is on the top of the Indian Government’s agenda.

Child Welfare

The year started with the notification of amendments in prohibition Child Marriage Act in January 07 to save the girls from child marriage. Now, the Act provides harsh punishment not only to those persons who are directly involved in such marriages but also those persons performing, abetting, promoting the child marriage.

National Commission for Protection of Child Right came into existence formally on March, 2007. The Commission was set up to look into the matters in a holistic manner specially for children in need, distress and to protect their rights. Smt. Shanta Sinha appointed Chairman of the Commission.

After the amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act, rules were formally notified in October this year for far-reaching reforms. Now, cases against juvenile will be speed up, juvenile boards will be set up in each District and adoption of the juvenile will also be possible. These amendments will allow juvenile to lead the life of common child and to join the mainstream soon.

A week-long festival ?ANANYA’ devoted to girl child was held in the first week of March and Vatsalaya mela in the first week of November. A number of activities organized during these festivals create awareness about empowerment and welfare of girl child and rights of the children. Free film shows organized for street children and other entertainment activities were also held during these weeks.

A women empowerment flag was dedicated to the nation on 6th March and foundation stone of working women hostel for 520 women from North East this year on March 7th, 2007.

To develop a comprehensive database and to understand causes behind the child abuse and to facilitate the formation of appropriate programmes, a study on child abuse in the country completed and released on April 9th. First office of its kind in the world the studies analyses causes and reasons behind the abuse in different age groups. A study group was also set up to formulate action plan to check the abuse.

Guidelines on adoption of child revised to make it more transparent and hassle free in May this year. After inviting comments from all concerned, the draft guidelines are under finalization.

The Government approved implementation of Nutrition Programme for adolescent Girls on a pilot basis to provide 6 kg of free food grains per month to undernourished adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years. The programme is being implemented in 51 identifies districts across the country.

ICDS

A significant progress was made in the implementation of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme during the year. Not only number of Anganwadis increased by about 19 thousand this year, to touch the number around 8.63 lakh, but also number of beneficiaries of supplementary nutrition under the scheme increased to 7.36 crore this year from 7.05 crore from the last year.

Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)

The Government finalized Integrated Child Protection Scheme to be launched in selected blocks in the country. Under the scheme, child protection and welfare cells will be set up at the District level to ensure that rights of the children are protected and children related schemes are implemented on priority basis.

Women welfare

During the year, the Government piloted two important bills in the Parliament for the amendment of Immoral Traffic Act and prevention of Sati. Both the Bills are with the group of Ministers for the consideration.

To check the female foeticide and to encourage education and better upbringing of girl child a scheme of Conditional Cash Transfer for girl child with the insurance cover also finalized this year. Under the scheme, cash transfers will be made to the family of the girl child based on the fulfillment of four important conditionalities viz. birth and registration of the girl child, immunization, retention in school and delaying marriage beyond 18 years of age. Initially this scheme is being launched in five States.

A comprehensive scheme to prevent rescue, rehabilitation and reintegrate victims of trafficking launched on 4th December. The scheme will not only provide shelter and half way home to the women trafficked but also provide capacity building and skill development training for taking up suitable employment.

An initiative was made for private-public partnership with various industrial associations like FICCI, ASSOCHAM and CII for providing economic empowerment of survivor of trafficking.

On the initiative of the Ministry, a charter for Gender Budgeting was issued by the Government in April this year and a manual was prepared by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to ensure that committed funds are earmarked and utilized for women related programmes. Gender Budgeting cells now has been set up in 53 Government Departments.

Source: Press Information Bureau, India

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