Ministry of Human Resource Development07-February, 2004 16:44 IST
Women & Child Development

The Budget for Department of Women and Child Development has more than doubled in the last four years from Rs. 1,289 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs. 2,654 crore in 2003-04.

National Nutrition Mission

The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day Speech in 2001, had announced that a National Nutrition Mission would be set up and that foodgrains at subsidised rates would be made available to adolescent girls and expectant and nursing mothers belonging to below poverty line families. To begin with, and to give effect to the Prime Minister’s announcement, a limited, focused intervention has been initiated. This is a pilot project, started in 2002, initially for two years. It is being implemented in the two most backward districts in each of the major States, identified on the basis of ranking developed by Planning Commission, and in the most populous districts in smaller States and Union Territories.

Women’s Empowerment Year

The year 2001 was declared as Women’s Empowerment Year. As part of the Women’s Empowerment Year, the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and its associated bodies were involved in a number of initiatives to improve the status of women in the country. The National policy for the empowerment of women, with the objective of bringing about advancement, development and empowerment of women, was formulated. Five Stree Shakti Puruskars, to honour and recognise the achievements of individual women, were presented, for the first time, by the Prime Minister at the launch of the Women’s Empowerment Year. The Government has also decided to give annual awards to selected ‘anganwadi’ workers on the basis of exemplary performance.

Domestic Violence (Prevention) Bill

The Department drafted a Domestic Violence Against Women (Prevention) Bill-2002 through an elaborate process of consultation at different levels involving various women’s groups, activists, lawyers, national institutions, State governments and all concerned Ministries and Departments of Government of India. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2002. The recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee are being examined for introduction of official Amendment Bill.

Review of Laws

Laws concerning women, which are under the Department, are being reviewed. This is being done to ensure that provisions in existing laws that are discriminatory towards women are removed and to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. The laws to be reviewed include Indecent Representation of Women’s Act, Sati Act, National Commission of Women Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act and Dowry Prohibition Act. Besides, two sub-groups, constituted under the Task Force on Women and Children, have submitted to DWCD a report involving a comprehensive review of the 22 laws concerning women, which include the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and Factories Act, 1948(as amended in 1976). The DWCD has circulated the report to the concerned Ministries and also written to them to expedite their efforts in this regard.


Swayamsiddha is an integrated programme for the empowerment of women through the network of self-help Groups of women. It seeks to achieve convergence of all women-related schemes of State and Central Governments at the block level. The programme shall be implemented through the State government in 650 blocks throughout the country, but the State governments will be at liberty to choose the implementing authority, which could be either a department of the government, or a corporation or an autonomous body or even a voluntary organisation. The scheme was formally launched in November, 2001.


Swadhar scheme, launched in 2001, provides for holistic rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances. The scheme has provisions for grants for construction or renting of shelter homes, food, medical-care, counseling, training of the inmates etc. Twenty-two projects for the rehabilitation of the widows, women affected by riots in Gujarat, and women and girls rescued from prostitution are in operation at present.


Certain expansion activities under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) (new urban ICDS projects, additional ‘Anganwadi centres’ and expansion of "Kishori Shakti" Yojana) have also been proposed. The Adolescent Girls Development Scheme, called the "Kishori Shakti Yojana", is being extended to cover 2,000 blocks in the country. Under this initiative, about 13 lakh adolescent girls will benefit. Honorarium to ‘Anganwadi workers has been almost doubled from April, 2002.

Swa-Shakti Project

Swa-Shakti Project, a World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development supported project, is being implemented in 57 districts of nine States. Over 17,500 women’s self-help groups have been formed in over 7,000 villages so far.

Teleconferencing with Women at the grassroots

Teleconferences involving interaction between legislators and policy makers and women at the grassroot levels have been organised regularly. The main objective of these teleconferences has been to provide fora for grassroot level women to share their problems regarding delivery of services and also to get information about their rights and about WCD programmes and policies.

National Commission for Children

A National Commission for Children is to be set up, which will be headed by a Chairperson who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court. It is to be constituted on the pattern of the National Human Rights Commission. The Commission would be adequately empowered to go into all aspects of development and problems of children. A National Charter for children is also being brought out, which would be a document for protection of rights for Children.

Campaign against Female Foeticide

Serious concern has been expressed over the incidence of female foeticide, strikingly brought out by the latest census figures. In order to broad base the appeal against such evil practices, the Government has sought to mobilise the cross-section of society including the leaders of all religions. WCD organised a conference of religious leaders to evolve a strategy/consensus to combat female foeticide. During the conference, the leaders of various religions while stating that no religion sanctioned such a heinous crime, called for effective steps including punitive and legal action against such practices.

(Release ID :1039)