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Central Schemes for Empowerment of Women

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NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK / MARCH 26 , 2012

Several schemes have been launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for empowerment of women.

The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG), or Sabla, is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at all-round development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years. The focus is all out-of-school adolescent girls. It aims at making them ‘self-reliant’ by improving their health and nutrition status, promoting awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, adolescent reproductive and sexual health, family and child care and facilitating access to public services through various interventions such as guidance and counselling and vocational training. It also aims towards mainstreaming out-of-school adolescent girls into formal/non-formal education. Nearly 100 lakh adolescent girls per annum are expected to be benefitted under the scheme. It has been introduced in the year 2010-11 on a pilot basis in 200 districts from all the States/UTs.

The Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) is a Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) centrally sponsored scheme for pregnant and lactating women. Under this scheme cash incentives are provided to for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers. The beneficiaries are paid Rs. 4000/-in three installments per head,  between the second trimester and till the child attains the age of 6 months, on fulfilling specific conditions related to maternal and child health. Pregnant women of 19 years of age and above are entitled for benefits under the scheme for first two live births. This does not include Government/ PSU (Central and State) employees. The scheme was introduced in October, 2010 on pilot basis in 52 selected districts and is being implemented using the platform of ICDS. The grant-in-aid is released to States/UTs, while cash transfer to beneficiaries is being made through Bank Accounts/ Post Office Accounts subject to the beneficiary fulfilling specific conditions. Around 12.5 lakhs pregnant and lactating women are expected to benefit under the scheme every year. In 2011-12, Rs 293.83 crore has been released to the States/UTs for implementation of the scheme.

In addition, the Priyadarshini scheme is an IFAD assisted pilot project for Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme in the mid Gangetic plains. It aims at holistic empowerment of vulnerable groups of women and adolescent girls through formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and promotion of improved livelihood opportunities. The programme is implemented in 13 blocks spread over five districts in Uttar Pradesh i.e Baharaich, CSM Nagar, Raebareli, Shravasti and Sultanpur and two districts Madhubani and Sitamarhi in Bihar. Over 100000 households are planned to be covered under the project and 7200 SHGs will be formed during the project period ending 2016-17. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the lead programme agency for the implementation; funds are not given to the State Governments.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also launched the Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) in 1986-87 with the aim of upgrading skills of women for self and wage employment. The target group includes the marginalized assetless rural women and urban poor. Special focus is on identified focal districts in which women are particularly disadvantaged. The project duration is for 5 years with beneficiaries’ ranging from 200-10000 and a maximum per capita cost of Rs 16000. The funds are directly released to different NGOs and not to the State Governments.

The Government of India has also launched the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) for holistic empowerment of women. This is a centrally sponsored scheme conceived as an umbrella Mission with a mandate to strengthen inter-sectoral convergence and facilitate the process of coordinating all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments. The Mission is mandated to facilitate the processes that contribute to economic empowerment of women, eliminate violence against women, social empowerment of women with emphasis on health and education, gender mainstreaming of policies, programmes and institutional arrangements and awareness generation and advocacy for bridging information and service gaps.

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