Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Women and Child Development
27-February-2014 17:16 IST
Smt. Krishna Tirath Launches Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Boys –“Saksham”
Smt. Krishna Tirath Confers National Awards for Anganwadi Workers for Exceptional Achievements

Smt. Krishna Tirath, the Minister of State for Women and Child Development Ministry launched the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Boys – “Saksham” and conferred the National Awards for Anganwadi Workers for Exceptional Achievements (2006-07 to 2010-11), here today.

Saksham (the self-reliant individual) aims at all-round development of Adolescent Boys (ABs) to make them self-reliant, gender-sensitive and aware citizens, when they grow up. The scheme will cover all adolescent boys (both school going and out of school) in the age-group of 11 to 18 years subdivided into two categories, viz. 11-14 & 14-18 years. In the first phase, Saksham scheme shall be implemented in 20 selected districts in seven States on a pilot basis benefitting nearly 6 lakh adolescent boys annually. Budget allocation of Rs. 100 crore has been earmarked for 12th Five Year Plan. In 2014-15, an allocation of Rs. 25 crore is made for the scheme.

The National Awards for Anganwadi Workers for Exceptional Achievements have been formulated by the Government for Anganwadi Workers (ANWs) at the National and State level to motivate them and give recognition to their voluntary work under the ICDS scheme. A total of 155 ANWs have been selected for national level awards (2006-07 and 2010-11) which comprise of Rs. 25,000 and a citation.

Speaking at the occasion Smt. Tirath said that the Anganwadi Workers are working very hard for the development of society. In the coming years the Government will have 14 lakh Anganwadi workers sanctioned for the implementation of Government schemes. The Minister said that there has been consistent demand from ANWs to increase their honorarium and provide them with pension. The Central Government had increased the honorarium from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 last time keeping in view their hard work, the Minister stated. She also said that she has written a letter to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for fulfilling of these demands. Smt. Tirath said that from now onwards 50% of ANWs will become Supervisors instead of the present percentage of 25%. The Minister emphasized that under UPA- II Integrated Child Protection Services (ICDS) scheme restructuring and strengthening has been undertaken in mission mode. Infrastructure has been created by the Government and now Anganwadis provide education as well as nutritious food to the children.

Smt. Tirath highlighted that the Government has increased the money provided to children as well as the protection homes under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). The amount provided per child under ICPS has been increased from Rs 750 per child to Rs 2000 per child and the amount allocated to child protection homes has been increased from Rs 20 lakh per protection home to Rs 50 lakh per protection home. This amount is being sent by the Central government to the State governments, she further added.

Smt. Tirath said that safety and protection of women is very important. An office should be made to solve the problems of women in every district. All problems faced by women whether related to agriculture, business or any other field should be solved at this office so that her time is saved and women are protected as well, she stated.

She said that a number of legislative and programmatic measures for protection of women have been initiated by the Government and the launch of Saksham is another step in this direction. The scheme will provide for training, skill development, gender sensitization and improvement of health of adolescent boys. She said that Government has chosen ¬18 selected districts are where Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) – SABLA is operational. This will provide an opportunity for healthy interaction between Adolescent Boys and Girls.

Shri A.K. Jain, Secretary, Women and Child Development Ministry said that Anganwadi Workers have made immense contribution for ICDS projects to deliver vitally important childcare services especially to under privileged section of society. ANWs are the pillars for the implementation of ICDS, he said. Shri Jain said that on the lines of Sabla scheme, Saksham is being launched. He highlighted the objectives of Saksham scheme and also congratulated the ANWs who received the awards today.

The objectives of the Saksham scheme would be to facilitate, educate and empower ABs so as to enable them to become self-reliant, gender-sensitive and aware citizens. The scheme will have the following objectives –

i. To make the Adolescent Boys gender sensitive.

ii. To create sensitized Ahimsa Messengers to address Violence against Women.

iii. To enable ABs for self-development and empowerment.

iv. To address the health needs i.e. the physical, mental and emotional health of ABs.

v. To promote awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition and Adolescent Reproductive & Sexual Health (ARSH) and family and child care.

vi. To provide appropriate information and vocational skills for ABs above 16 years through National Skill Development Program (NSDP) for future work-participation.

vii. To provide necessary life skill education and to provide information/guidance about existing public services.

viii. To channelize the energies of ABs for nation building.

The structures under Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) will be utilized as a platform for the Saksham scheme. This shall be supported by a dedicated Saksham unit/cell created at the Centre, State, District and Block level. Anganwadi Centre is the focal point for the delivery of the services, where Anganwadi infrastructure is inadequate, alternative place such as Community Centre, School or Panchayat Hall may be used. The Vocational Service Providers (VTPs) under the National Skill Development Programme (NSDP) of Ministry of Labour & Employment will be used to provide Vocational Training to ABs.

Present at the occasion were various higher officials of WCD Ministry, NIPCCD and ANWs from all over the country.