NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK
A two day Conference on ‘Issues and Challenges in the Development of Women and Children of Backward Classes including Backward Classes of Religious Minorities’ bas begun in New Delhi. The Conference is organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development .The Conference is the third in a series of conferences on specific social groups of women. The first one was held on Scheduled Caste women and children in January 2011 while the second was on Scheduled Tribe women and children in May 2011.
The Additional Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development in his welcome remarks said that Gender being a cross cutting issue, it was important that specific interventions are undertaken for women by all Ministries and Departments and at all levels of the Government. However, he stressed, interventions for women and girls must not stop at narrowing the gender gap, but also seek to bridge divides of social, caste and religious groupings.
Smt. Krishna Tirath, Hon’ble Minister of State (IC) for Women & Child Development, inaugurated the Conference. She emphasized that the empowerment of the backward classes is very vital for the development of the nation as a whole. And within these, the empowerment of women needs special attention as they face multiple disadvantages. She drew attention to the fact that one of the biggest challenges concerning OBCs has been estimation of their population in the country and shared that the Government of India has already undertaken this mammoth task of conducting a caste census along with BPL census. She particularly highlighted the various programmes and schemes of the Government for backward classes particularly those that are targeted at OBC women. She also shared how the initiatives of the Ministry of Women and Child Development like ICDS, STEP and RMK were benefitting OBC women. She also exhorted all Ministries to ensure collection of gender disaggregated data for BCs including BCs of Religious Minorities in all their schemes
Representatives of various Central Government Ministries, State Governments, experts and Civil Society Organizations participated in the Conference. Member, National Commission for Backward Classes also participated in the Conference. The experts and participants have deliberated in the Plenary Sessions and Working Group sessions on the problems in the areas of Health and Nutrition; Education and challenges in the fields of livelihoods in agriculture and related areas & employment and economic development in non-agricultural sectors including rights of fisher people and artisans. The conference would also focus on specific issues of Backward Classes among religious minorities. Recommendations of the Conference will be forwarded to the concerned Ministries for their consideration.