Several substantial measures taken to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country: Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi



Several substantial measures taken by the Government to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country: Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi 
The Union Minster of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has said that the new government has taken several concrete and substantial steps to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country. The Minister outlined the measures being taken by the Government in an oral reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha during the Question Hour today. In her reply, Smt. Maneka Gandhi disclosed that in one such far-reaching initiative, the Union Territories have already provided 33% reservation to women in the police force to address the issue of crimes against women. Similarly, seven states have also given 33% reservation in police force while the remaining states have promised to do the same, she added. 


In another landmark effort, One Stop Centres for Women affected by violence are being set up in each state of the country. Ten such centres have already become functional and receive up to 200 women in a week, the Minister explained. These women are given police, legal, medical and psychological assistance. Daily monitoring of these centres is being done by the Ministry and a proposal will soon be put up for setting up of 660 centres across the country, one in each district, she said.

Smt Maneka Gandhi said that to inculcate the concept of gender equality, the scheme of Gender Champions is being implemented from the school level itself. The WCD Minister disclosed that the scheme of Special Mahila Police Volunteers at village level will come into force from next month onwards. These women volunteers will keep an eye on incidents like molesting, eve teasing or parents denying education to children etc and help protect the women. The Women Helpline is making good progress and will be universalized throughout the country, she added.

Replying to a supplementary, Smt Maneka Gandhi said that in a recent development, an agreement has been reached with all concerned to have a panic button in mobile handsets, both old and new, which will enable women to seek help in distress.

Village Facilitation &Convergence Service is a new initiative which has started working in 15 districts in which women will be facilitated in different ways with respect to schemes meant for them. The WCD Minister said that these Village Facilitation Centres will be expanded to all the 100 districts of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme. The BBBP scheme , which was launched this year, is already showing very good results, the Minister explained.

To empower women, National Commission for Women has been asked to train the newly elected two lakhs sarpanches in how to administer villages, handle funds, take measures to protect women etc. Smt Maneka Gandhi assured that although India ranks 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index released this year,the rating will sure improve substantially in the coming surveys in view of the efforts being made by the government.

In her written reply to the same question, Smt. Gandhi said that the Government of India has already enacted a number of legislations to address gender based discrimination. These include the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961;Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986; the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006 (PCMA), Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and 73rd – 74th Amendment of the Constitution mandating 33% reservation for women in the local governance. The Criminal Law (Amendment), Act 2013 has been enacted making punishment more stringent for offences like rape. 
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Childline Toll Free Centres available in 366 districts across the country, Centralized Call Centres at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Gurgaon 
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is providing support for an emergency outreach service under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for children in distress. This service is available through a dedicated toll free number, 1098 and can be accessed by children in crisis or by adults on their behalf. This service is being provided in public private partnership mode through Childline India Foundation and their local NGO partners.

The toll free helpline number 1098 can be accessed from anywhere in the country, however the helpline service centres are currently available in 366 districts across the country. Public complaint with regard to child labour and crimes against children can also be reported to the Police Unit of the district concerned. The Ministry has further strengthened the helpline number by setting up of four Centralized Call Centres (CCC) at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Gurgaon which will allow further expansion of the services.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
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Allocations for the current year for ICDS and SABLA schemes increased to Rs.15,485.77 crores and Rs.475.50 crores respectively 
In the backdrop of substantial higher devolution of taxes of 42% to the States to give more flexibility to States in implementation of Schemes, the cost sharing ratio for all component of ICDS, except Supplementary Nutrition, has been revised to 60:40 between the Centre and States (90:10 for the 8 North-Eastern States and 3 Himalayan States) and 100% central share for UT Administrations. During 2015-16, the initial allocation of Rs.8335.77 crores for ICDS and Rs.75.50 crores for SABLA have been increased to Rs.15,485.77 crores and Rs.475.50 crores respectively through Supplementary Grants.

The funds provided under ICDS and Sabla Schemes are sufficient to implement the Schemes considering the revised cost norms by the Ministry of Finance.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
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Measures to regulate fraud on matrimonial websites 
Instances of frauds on matrimonial websites are brought to the notice of the Government time to time. A meeting was held on 17th November, 2015 with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Department of Information Technology (DEITY) and online service providers of the matrimonial sites to find out the possible ways for better regulations in order to mitigate and eliminate the frauds in the digital space concerning matrimonial sites.

The Government has not set up an inter-ministerial panel to decide over a regulatory mechanism to curb exploitation of gullible candidates by fraudsters on matrimonial sites yet.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
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Funds sanctioned/released to 30 States/UTs for setting up 24 hour Women Helplines 
The Scheme for Universalisation of Women Helpline has been approved for implementation through States/UTs from 1st April 2015 to provide 24 hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence both in public and private sphere, including in the family, community, workplace etc. All the States/UTs have been requested to submit the proposals in order to release funds. The funds have been sanctioned/released to 30 States/UTs for setting up Women Helplines. As the scheme is at the nascent stage of operationalisation at the field level, no such data regarding number of calls received on these helplines are available.

Under the scheme it has been envisaged to publicise the Women Helpline through awareness-generation strategies including mass publicity campaign by State/UT Government.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. 
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Model Guidelines for Foster Care, 2015 issued for care of children without parental support 
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued the Model Guidelines for Foster Care, 2015 developed through a consultative process to be adopted or adapted by the State/UT as per their requirement. The District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) constituted under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) is the nodal authority for implementing the foster care programme, while all decisions related to placement of a child in foster care are to be taken by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the district.

Children from the Child Care Institution (CCIs) are identified on the basis of their Individual Care Plan. Children without parental support in the community would be placed under foster care. The prospective foster carers/ parents would have to apply in response of periodical advertisement to be given by DCPU in local newspapers.

Based on the Home study Report, the recommendation of the DCPU and the compatibility report of interaction between the child and prospective foster carer/parent during the matching process, the CWC shall make a final order for placing a child under foster care.

Child in the age group of 0-6 years is not to be ordinarily placed in long term foster care but given for adoption if declared legally free by CWC. The foster carers/parent shall be required to sign an undertaking for foster-care of the child.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today. 
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Assistance under Nirbhaya Fund 
           Ministry of Finance, Government of India has set up a dedicated fund called Nirbhaya Fund amounting to Rs.3000 crore for implementation of initiatives aimed at enhancing the safety and security for women in the country. 
Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs has set up a Empowered Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development with Secretaries of Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Department of Electronics & IT, Chairman, Railway Board and representative of Department of Economic Affairs as members for appraising and approving various schemes/project proposals proposed to be funded from the Nirbhaya Fund. After approval, the proposal is sent to the Ministry of Finance, Budget Division for necessary budgetary allocations from the Nirbhaya Fund.

The details of proposals appraised and recommended under Nirbhaya Funds are as under:

Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD):
i)                   One Stop Centre with total project cost of Rs. 18.58 crore
ii)                 Universalisation of Women Helpline with Rs. 69.49 crore

Ministry of Home Affairs:
i)                    Creation of Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) for supporting the States/UT Administrations for implementation of Victim Compensation Scheme of Rs. 200.00 Crore.
ii)                  Creation of Investigative Units for Crime against Women (IUCAW) in all police districts of the country of Rs. 324.00 Crore

Funds amounting to Rs. 10.71 crore have been released in respect of One Stop Centre and an amount of Rs. 13.92 crore has been sanctioned for Women Helpline to the States/UTs.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. 

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Indecent Representation of Women in Advertisements 
As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data which is available upto 2014, a total of 141, 362 and 47 cases were reported in the country under Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 during the year 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 has provisions prohibiting indecent representation of women through advertisements, publications, pamphlets, etc. Any person who contravenes the provisions of the Section 3 and Section 4 of the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment and fine.

The Government of India regularly conducts awareness generation programmes and publicity campaigns on various laws relating to women including the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 through workshops, fairs, cultural programmes, seminars, training programmes etc. Further, advertisements are regularly brought out in the print and electronic media to create awareness on laws relating to rights of women.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. 
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