The National Commission for Women (NCW), established as a statutory body under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, plays a pivotal role in advancing gender equality and empowering women across various domains in India. It serves as a platform to safeguard women’s rights and promote their active participation in all spheres of life.

Composition of NCW:
The NCW comprises:

  • A Dedicated Chairperson committed to women’s causes.
  • Five members with expertise in diverse fields such as law, trade unionism, industry, administration, health, education, etc.
  • At least one member from Scheduled Castes and one from Scheduled Tribes.
  • A Member-Secretary possessing expertise in management, sociology, or a civil servant with appropriate experience.

Functions of NCW:

  • Under Section 10 of the Act, the NCW carries out the following functions:
  • Examination of matters related to women’s safeguards as per the Constitution and laws.
  • Submission of an annual report to the Central Government outlining the functioning of constitutional and legislative safeguards.
  • Offering recommendations for effective safeguard implementation, required legislative amendments, and policy guidance.
  • Taking up cases involving violations of women’s rights with relevant authorities.
  • Addressing complaints and initiating suo-motu action on issues impacting women’s rights, utilizing the Commission’s civil court powers.

Initiatives for Women Empowerment:

  • Implementation of an efficient online system for complaint registration, processing, and resolution.
  • Proactive investigation and prosecution of offenses through suo-motu cognizance.
  • Collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and State authorities to address concerns related to non-resident Indian marriages.
  • Conducting gender sensitization programs for police personnel, enhancing their ability to handle cases involving women sensitively.
  • Focused attention on curbing child marriage, promoting legal awareness, and introducing the concept of Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats.
  • Revision of legislations like Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994, IPC 1860, and the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, to strengthen their effectiveness.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

  • Limited financial resources and functional constraints have impeded the Commission’s efficacy.
  • The advisory nature of its recommendations limits their enforceability.
  • Enhancing the Commission’s effectiveness entails addressing these issues and providing it with more substantial powers, finances, and comprehensive training.

The National Commission for Women stands as a vital institution in India’s quest for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its multifaceted efforts, from legislative advocacy to practical interventions, have significantly contributed to enhancing the status of women. While facing certain challenges, a more empowered NCW, equipped with stronger mechanisms and support, can bring about greater transformative change in the lives of women across the nation.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish April 25, 2024