By Sayantani Chakrabarty
A country is run by government bodies and it is the fundamental duty of every government to devise schemes and policies that will benefit the country and its people. These are called public policies, created to suit the needs of the public.
Public policy forms one of the key elements of “the fundamental guide to action” as stated in the Constitution of India. Public policy are schemes made on behalf of the people of a country to address their issues and improve the overall state of the country. These policies, in turn, make the administration of a state or a city more effective if implemented. Therefore, public policies are very important for any government.
Public policies are made keeping the aspects of finance, ethics, and management in focus, with a keen objective of providing equal opportunities for everyone, and to make a convenient, secured environment to live and work within the country. Among the public policies implemented in India and most countries of the world, women and gender minorities play an important role, to remove the disparities that exist in education, health, service, and domestic environment.
India has implemented a broad range of public policies in the context of women empowerment — from education and health care to economic equity and the criminal justice. The formation and implementation of these policies fall within the framework of our Constitution, as the principle of gender equality is one of the critical areas in the Indian Constitution. The vision of the public policies for women in India is to facilitate development, advancement, and empowerment.
Here are five of the most prominent policies or schemes adopted by the government of India to empower women.
The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme was launched to address concerns of the gender discrimination in education. The scheme aims to educate the girl child against gender bias and improve efficacy of welfare services for girls. The core objectives of this policy are to prevent gender biased sex selective elimination, ensure survival and protection of girls, and to provide education and participation to the girl child from every family. The scheme was launched after the 2011 national census revealed a disastrous Child Sex Ratio and Sex Ratio at Birth, which were on a decline.
With violence and abuse against women and girls becoming a normal, regular affair, carried out openly on streets, and behind closed doors, public transportations and educational institutions, the freedom to move freely in public spaces and to live a normal life comes to women with many restrictions. These occurrences also limit their access to essential services and adversely impact their health and wellbeing. The Nirbhaya Fund can be utilized for projects specifically designed to improve the safety and security of women. It is an umbrella policy, under which are also included schemes like One Stop Centre, Women Helpline, Mission Shakti, and Mahila Police Volunteer. The One Stop Centre scheme aims to facilitate women affected by violence with a range of integrated services under one roof such as police facilitation, medical aid, providing legal and psycho-social counselling and temporary shelter.
A comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims, UJJAWALA is a scheme that seeks to prevent trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation through social mobilization and involvement of local communities, generation awareness programmes, and generate public discourse through workshops/seminars and such events.
Mahila E-Haat is an online marketing platform for women entrepreneurs from the rural and urban spheres of India. It is a unique direct online marketing platform where women entrepreneurs, SHGs and NGOs can display their products and services. The objective of this poliy is to empower and strengthen the financial inclusion of women entrepreneurs.
The National Creche Scheme, previously known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme, aims to provide day care facilities to children (6 months to 6 years) of working mothers. It is a centrally sponsored scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development with a view to promote gender diversity at workplaces. Not just daycare facility, this scheme also provides supplementary nutrition to the kids, growth monitoring, and health check-ups with a monthly charge of INR 20 for a child from a BPL family, and INR 100 for a child from a family with an income of up to INR 12,000.
Numerous Indian women have to stay away from their homes to pursue their career, but often, owing to high rent charges and other issues, they suffer from lack of safety, security and they opt out of earning a livelihood for themselves. Working Women Hostel Scheme is designed to meet the housing requirements of these working women. As per the policy, the hostels are open to women who do not have anyone to care for them and can be availed by widowed, single, or divorced women. The Working Women Hostel also provides daycare services to working mothers.
Although the government has implemented these schemes and allocated quite a big sum of money to run these policies, there is a lack of awareness among the general public, for whom these policies are in effect in the first place. Our duty as Indians is to make our fellow citizens aware of such schemes that will only benefit them.