Empowering a woman means empowering an entire household. Being mindful of this fact, Praful Patel, administrator of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli (DNH) Union Territory (UT) ensured various initiatives were adopted to encourage women empowerment and child care. Since the appointment of Praful Patel, he not only introduced new initiatives but gave an impetus to existing ones to deliver better results.
Firstly, the focus was to provide livelihood support to women. This was possible by seaweed cultivation through seven self-help groups in the Diu district. The groups are supervised and provided technical guidance from the administration which also provided initial infrastructure and germplasm. Under this programme, 24.65 tonnes of fresh seaweed (Kappaphycus alverzii) have been produced so far. The administration even aims to encourage large scale commercial seaweed cultivation through a buy-back procedure.
Yet another vital source of income is dairy farming. Under the Gir Aadarsh Aajeevika Yojana (GAAY), Gir-breed cows, known for their high-quality A2 milk, have been distributed to women across all districts. This move has benefited 447 individuals.
The administration also launched the Unnati programme to enable the development of professional skills and ensure placement in industries. It was inaugurated in March this year. It is expected to benefit 180 women in one year. In addition, to increase women participation in local legislative bodies, the administration of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli has approved 50 per cent reservation for women in district panchayat and municipal councils.
The administration was also able to address the nutritional status of women and children in the UT, especially in DNH district that was alarming. As per NFHS-4, the district has 79.5 per cent of anaemic girls and women while 28 per cent of women have low Body Mass Index (BMI). To improve the outcome of this scheme, it was decided to provide a monthly quota of take-home ration instead of serving meals through anganwadis. A total of 479,103 kits have been distributed since the launch of the scheme.
Understanding the needs of women during childbirth. The administration is offering all possible services to pregnant women and newborn children. In order to facilitate safe institutional deliveries, the Pehli Sawari programme, which provides free transportation to and from hospitals, has been made functional. In addition, crèche facilities have been initiated to ensure that the children of construction and industrial workers enjoy their basic rights and are provided special care and protection. Approximately 150 children attend these facilities.
In order to offer assistance during emergencies, India’s first 24X7 free emergency phone service, Childline 1098, has been made functional in all Daman & Diu districts. It is a free emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. Childline also links them to services for long-term care and rehabilitation.
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