One Year of UPA Government : Major Decisions and Initiatives - Women and Child Development

for Prime Minister's Office | Date - 12-05-2005




The UPA Government completes one year on May 21, 2005. During this period, the Government has taken several important initiatives. Some of these are being brought out in the series ‘Major Decisions and Initiatives’.

The Department of Women and Child Development (WCD) has taken a slew of measures in the last one year to give the much needed impetus to the holistic development of women and children.  Besides playing its nodal role, the Department has implemented certain innovative programmes for women and children.  These programmes cover welfare and support services, training for employment and income generation, awareness generation and gender sensitisation. All these efforts are directed to ensure that women are empowered both economically and socially and thus become equal partners in national development along with men.

Gender Budgeting

The Department of WCD has taken the initiative of formalising the concept of “Gender Mainstreaming” and to develop a comprehensive approach to realisation of the objective of gender equity. In order to promote adoption of a gender perspective in all public expenditure and policy, detailed guidelines have been developed and circulated to the Union Ministries and State Governments. These have been designed to serve as a powerful policy guiding, review and gender audit tool. The Department of WCD is currently focusing on four areas for the empowerment of women, namely, Food and Nutrition Security (for the family with focus on women and girl child) and employment guarantee, Water and Sanitation, Adequate Health Facilities,  Asset Base for Women (land, home, livestock etc.).

Protection of Child Rights

            The Department of WCD is in the process of setting up a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. A National Commission for Children Bill 2003 was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2003 but got lapsed due to Lok Sabha Elections in 2004.  The proposal to set up a National Commission for Children has been reconsidered by the New Government and has made certain major changes in the Bill.  The Bill for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 2, 2005.

Protection from Domestic Violence

            The National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the UPA Government makes a commitment that a law on domestic violence would be enacted.  In order to fulfill this commitment, the Government has initiated a review of the Protection from Domestic Violence Bill, 2002, which was pending before the 13th Lok Sabha and subsequently lapsed on dissolution of the House.  The Department is finalising the Bill in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Promotion of Breast Feeding

            Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992, was specially legislated to protect and promote breastfeeding in the country.  In order to further strengthen the Act, the Government has enacted the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Act, 2003.  The same was notified by the Department for enforcement with effect from January 1, 2004.

            The Rules framed under the Act have also been amended so as to align the same with the amendments made.  The Amendment Rules vetted by the Legislative Department were notified on December 22, 2003.  The said rules were laid on the table of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on June 8-9, 2004 respectively.

Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women

            The Government is also actively considering enactment of a law for prevention and redressal of sexual harassment of women at workplace taking into account the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Vishaka case.  A draft Bill on the subject prepared by the National Commission for Women has been discussed with State Labour Commissioners and State Women Commissions.  Meanwhile, as an extensive revision of the draft Bill submitted by NCW was considered necessary for taking care of the problem of sexual harassment in diverse situation of employer-employee relationship, service provider-consumer relationship, in the informal sector and in custodial/other institutional settings, etc. the Department has got the NCW Bill re-examined by Lawyers Collective, a women’s organization having vast expertise in the field of laws for women’s rights,  other experts and organizations specialised in this area.  The draft Bill proposed after due consultations has been put on the website of the Department inviting comments from all concerned.  The Bill is scheduled to be discussed in a meeting to be held during May 2005 with State Secretaries in charge of Women and Child Development and women voluntary organizations.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act


A Cabinet Note for amending the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act has been sent to the Cabinet. After approval of the Cabinet, the Bill will be laid in Parliament.

Launching of NCRW  Portal 

            The Department, in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development has set up a portal of the National Resource Centre for Women (NCRW), which was inaugurated on March 8, 2005, the International Women’s Day.  The portal is a virtual resource centre and digital library on women and gender issues.  It attempts to create a base for data generation, information and dissemination on contemporary gender issues, facilitate networking between various players in the development field and mainstream gender perspective in policies, planning, implementation and monitoring in selected sectors.

Expansion of ICDS

Towards the implementation of NCMP to universalise the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), a proposal for expansion of the Scheme by sanctioning 467 additional Projects and 1,88,168 additional Angan Wadi Centres (AWCs) required by the States is under process.  Under existing pattern of the ICDS Scheme, supplementary nutrition has to be provided by the States/UT Administration out of their own resources.  Since many States were not providing adequately for supplementary nutrition in view of resource constraints, it has been proposed in the Plan allocation of 2005-06, to support States by providing 50 per cent of expenditure incurred by them on supplementary nutrition.  The allocation of Rs.3,685.30 crore for ICDS includes Rs.1,500 crore for supplementary nutrition and Rs.300 crore towards expansion of the Scheme.The increase in Plan allocation for 2005-06 is because Rs.1,500 crore have been provided in the Budget for sharing the cost of Supplementary Nutrition with the State Governments under ICDS scheme.


PIB SF-25 (12.05.2005)

(Release ID :9232)

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