Democracy for most means the freedom to speak, think and act as an individual. But for an Indian woman, democracy goes beyond the pages of the Constitution and is largely related to her everyday life. More jobs, opportunities for entrepreneurship, increased safety, ease in day-to-day living, and protection of the girl child are just some of the things a desi naari’s definition of complete democracy include. In reality, the road to women’s empowerment has several factors and levels that differ not just based on gender, but income, region, education and more. On World Democracy Day, TC46 lists 5 undertakings by the Indian government that are helping women get closer to true democracy.
5 Schemes By The Indian Government Improving The Lives Of Women
1. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana
Launched by the Prime Minister on 22nd January, 2015 at Panipat, Haryana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) addresses the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of women empowerment over a life-cycle. This scheme is a joint effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development. It is an effort to bring about a transformational shift in the way our society looks at the girl child.
2. Mahila Shakti Kendra
On Wednesday dated 22nd November 2017, the Indian government gave the nod for Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme. This was implemented with the goal of empowering rural women through community participation to create an environment in which they realize their full potential. The scheme was set up in order to reach out to rural women and facilitate health, nutrition, skill development, employment, digital literacy and more.
3. Working Women Hostel
To promote the availability of reliable and conveniently located accommodation for working women, the government launched the Working Women Hostel Scheme. Under this scheme, the government provides a grant-in-aid for the construction of new or expansion of existing buildings to advance hostel facilities in cities, towns and also in rural areas. The goal of the scheme is to provide safety and location accommodation for the working women along with the daycare facility for their children.
Launched in 2016, Mahila-E-Haat is a unique bilingual marketing online platform where aspiring women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, and NGOs can display their products and services. It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Stand Up India’ initiatives. The scheme provides access to markets to thousands of women who make products and are spread all over the country but have little access to markets.
5. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna is a small deposit scheme for girl children, launched as a part of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. The scheme is meant to meet the education and marriage expenses of a girl child. One of the reasons why this scheme has become popular is due to its tax benefit. It comes with a maximum tax benefit of Rs 1.5 lakh under section 80C of the Income-tax Act.
Lawyered: Tanya Appachu Explains Women Empowerment In India
TC46 connected with lawyer and Instagram creator Tanya Appachu to know more about what democracy means for Indian women, laws that protect women’s rights and the state of women’s empowerment in the country.
1. Democracy & Indian Women
Women have the right to vote and hold political rights in India but I’m yet to see better representation of women in decision making roles. We live in a country where a committee to introduce any law related to the safety and empowerment of women is headed and constituted by men. Shouldn’t women be deciding what is good for women? So yes, we do have great laws on paper, we have schemes by the Government to empower women but until we have women making laws for women, we are not truly enjoying the benefits of democracy.
2. Top 5 Laws And Provisions That Protect Women’s Rights
The Government over the years has legislated many laws to safeguard women’s rights. Some of the laws which are helpful and relevant in today’s times are:
- Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act 2013: To safeguard and protect women from sexual harassment at the workplace and provide them with a conducive environment to excel in at work.
- Equal Rights To Parental Property: Hindu daughters have been given equal rights to their parents’ property just like a son irrespective of whether she is married or not. This was done via a 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act.
- Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013: Legislated after the horrific Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi redefined rape laws and made punishments more stringent for rape.
- Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act 2005: Protects and helps women seek redressal from physical, verbal, mental, emotional and financial abuse in a marriage.
- The MTP Amendment Act 2021: This recently bought some changes in the abortion laws in the country which makes it possible for single and married women to both seek abortions and the maximum limit has been increased to 24 weeks.
3. The Need To Upgrade The System
We actually do have very progressive laws to protect, safeguard and help women be empowered. But the main problem is that everything is on paper and for a woman to actually get redressal or the benefits of any law, she has to run from pillar to post. The system makes it difficult. The government agencies, police, government offices, bureaucracy at the grassroots levels make it difficult for a woman to truly utilise these laws for her empowerment. So we really require a better implementation of the laws and also a better social outlook in the country when it comes to women’s rights.