India has traditionally been a patriarchal society and therefore women, irrespective of their class, caste or religion, they have always suffered from social handicaps and disabilities. It thus became necessary to take certain ameliorative steps in order to improve the condition of women in the traditionally male dominated society.
• Women face different forms of violence like infanticide, neglect of nutrition needs, education and healthcare.
• They have little or no property in their name and with little or poor formal education, they become dependent on their male counterpart.
• They have little control over the resources and important decisions related to their lives.
Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
STEP is being administered by Central Government since 1986-87 as a ‘Central Sector Scheme’. It aims to provide skills that give employability to women and to provide competencies and skill that enable women to become selfemployed/ entrepreneurs.
Swadhar Greh – A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances
Swadhar Greh Scheme targets the women victims of difficult circumstances. Under the Scheme, Swadhar Greh will be set up in every district with capacity to house 30 women. The Scheme through the provisions of shelter, food, clothing, counselling, training, clinical and legal aid aims to rehabilitate women in difficult circumstance i.e. women rendered homeless due to family discord, crime, violence, mental stress, social ostracism or are being forced into prostitution and are in moral danger.
Working Women’s Hostel
The Government of India launched the working women’s hostel scheme in 1972-73 in order to promote greater mobility of women in the employment market. The objective of the Scheme is to promote availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facility for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi urban, or even rural areas where employment opportunity for women exist.
It is a comprehensive scheme for Prevention of Trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation, Re-integration and Repatriation of Victims of Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation which is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Udyam Sakhi Portal for Women Entrepreneur
The Udyam Sakhi helps Indian women to start, build and grow businesses. It recognises that women entrepreneur in the industry is critical to economic recovery and strength, in building nation’s future, and to helping India compete in today’s global marketplace.
Mother and Child Tracking Scheme (MCTS)
MCTS is an initiative of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to leverage information technology for ensuring delivery of full spectrum of healthcare and immunization services to pregnant women and children up to 5 years of age.
Pradhan Mantri Matritiva Vandana Yojana
Previously known as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, under this scheme, INR 6000/- is given to pregnant women for hospital stay, vaccination and nutrition.
One Stop Centre Scheme
These Centres will be established across the country to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces in phased manner.
Mechanisms Existing in India for Vulnerable Sections
• Article 15(3): State can make special provisions for women
• Article 23: Right to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour
• Article 39 (a): State to ensure that, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood
• Article 39 (d): State to ensure equal pay to women for equal work
• Article 42: Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
• Article 243 D: Provides for reservation of seats in Panchayats at all levels to women.
Legislations Related to Women
• The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 – Provides for paid maternity leaves of 26 months
• The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961— To end dowry by providing penal provisions.
• Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1986 – Penal provisions for trafficking of women
• Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 – To protect dignity of women
• Commission of Sati (prevention) Act 1987 – Abolished Sati system
• National Commission of Women Act 1990 – Establishes National Commission of Women
• Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 – To protect women from domestic violence
• The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 – It addresses workplace sexual harassment.
Institutions and Bodies for the betterment of women
National Commission for Women
The National Commission for Women was set up under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to:
• Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women;
• Recommend remedial legislative measures;
• Facilitate redressal of grievances and
• Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
RMK, established in 1993, is a national level organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Womenand Child Development, for socio-economic empowerment of women.
RMK extends micro-credit to the women in the informal sector through a client friendly, without collateral and in a hassle-free manner for income generation activities.