In an interview on the occasion of Women’s Day, the Maharashtra Minister of Women and Child Welfare Yashomati Thakur shares her views and the department’s slew of initiatives
Q: What will be the focus of the state government’s new women’s policy?
A: We are working for the empowerment and empowerment of women through the Department of Women and Child Development. We are constantly striving to raise the living standards of women. Girls are learning along with boys. We are on our way to building a capable and strong society.
The state had announced the first women's policy in 1994 for the empowerment and development of women. In 2001 and 2014, the second and third women's policies were announced by the department. Now the draft of the fourth women's policy is in the final stage. This year's policy is not limited to the form of guidelines, but for the first time, it is being combined with an action plan and monitoring. The policy covers the short, medium and long term measures by explaining the responsibility of concerned departments for their implementation. The new women’s empowerment policy takes a holistic view of gender equality.
The policy focuses on the social and economic development of women, girls and persons belonging to the LGBTQIA – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual – community. The focus areas will be improving the physical and mental health of women with the involvement of families and men, in particular, gender-responsive education and universal access to quality education. Social protection measures have been prioritised to support the rehabilitation of women affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate shocks and disasters in the area of health, education and work.
Q: Could you tell us how the allocation of 3% fund under the district annual plan will boost the implementation of women and child empowerment schemes?
A: For the overall development of women and children in the state, it has been decided to provide at least 3% of the total funds received from the Planning Department to the District Planning Committee for Women and Child Development permanently for the Umbrella Scheme for Women and Child Empowerment in each district. It has been decided implement women empowerment and child development, economic empowerment of women and integrated child development services schemes.
Q: What efforts are made to help women's self-help groups?
A: Under the Nav Tejaswini, Rs 523 crore have been provided to women self-help groups for the financial empowerment of women, especially from rural areas.
Women need to be financially self-sufficient to achieve overall progress. The baseline survey for the project has been completed and 2,241 subprojects have been approved.
In addition, the state-run Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) is an important mechanism for empowering women and their self-help groups in the state to work for their economic upliftment. Modern technology is being adopted so that agricultural products of women self-help groups get market rates. Through its e-business platform, MAVIM is working for the empowerment of women and is trying to develop a market relationship for it.
Q: What are schemes to protect women from cyber crimes?
A: Training is provided to college girls through the Cyber Sakhi initiative. With the increasing use of mobile and the internet, cybercrime fraud against women is also on the rise. The college girls are trained for safe use of mobile and internet, digital technology and steps to avoid cheating.
Q: Can you elaborate on what is Mission Mukta?
A: Mission Mukta will be launched for the release of women prisoners in jails. The campaign is being implemented by the State Women’s Commission by providing legal assistance to women inmates in jails.