To ensure women are empowered, the government and the public sector need to play important roles to enable their welfare in various sectors. Whether it’s providing free cooking gas and education schemes or enabling women to leverage technology, a slew of schemes has been launched in recent years to empower women to be independent in their lives.
Here are a few that are breaking new ground and improving the lives of women, and encouraging them to think big, both in urban and rural areas.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana
Launched on January 22, 2015, in Panipat, Haryana, it aims to generate awareness and also improve the efficiency of welfare services for the girl child. The initial aim of the campaign was to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) but has come to include gender-biased sex-selective eliminations, and propagating education, survival, and protection of the girl child.
It is being implemented through a national campaign and focussed multi-sectoral action in 100 selected districts low in CSR, covering all states and UTs..
Under the purview of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the government launched Mahila-E-Haat in 2016. It is a bilingual online marketing platform that leverages technology to help aspiring women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, and
NGOs to showcase their products and services..
Open to all Indian women above the age of 18, this platform offers an easy sign-in process and convenient payment modes. Everything can be handled on a mobile with no other intervention required. The portal claims to have attracted 17 lakh visitors since its launch and features over 2,000 products and services across 18 categories from 24 states.
Mahila Shakti Kendra
The government launched the Mahila Shakti Kendra in 2017 to empower rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition. The Mahila Shakti Kendras will work through community engagement through student volunteers in the 115 most backward districts.
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Working Women Hostel
The government launched the Working Women Hostels to ensure availability of safe, convenient accommodation for working family, along with daycare facilities for their children, wherever possible in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
Under the scheme, assistance is provided for construction of new hostels and expansion of existing ones. The working women hostels are available to any woman provided her gross income does not exceed Rs 50,000 per month in metropolitan cities and Rs 35,000 per month in any other place.
Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
The STEP scheme was set up to provide skills to women so that they can take up gainful employment. It also provides the right competencies and training for women to become entrepreneurs. Open to every woman above the age of 16, it is run through a grant given to an institution/organisation including NGOs directly.
According to the Ministry website, the assistance under STEP Scheme will be available in any sector for imparting skills related to employability and entrepreneurship, including but not limited to the agriculture, horticulture, food processing, handlooms, tailoring, stitching, embroidery, zari, handicrafts, computers & IT-enabled services along with soft skills and skills for the workplace, such as spoken English, gems and jewellery, travel and tourism, and hospitality.
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
Falling under the ambit of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a government-backed savings scheme for girl children. The account can be opened at any India Post office or a branch of an authorised commercial bank anytime between the birth of the girl child and till the age of 10 by a parent or guardian.
Only one account is allowed per child and parents with a minimum of Rs 1,000 deposited into it. There is no limit to the number of deposits either in a month or in a financial year. The account offers an interest of 8.6 percent.