6th Five Year Plan
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28 || Appendix

Chapter 27:

The Constitution of India not only provides for equal rights and privileges for women and men but also for making special provision for women. A series, of social legislations have been enacted from time to time for raising the status of women in the country. The Five Year Plans have consistently placed special emphasis on providing minimum health facilities integrated with family welfare and nutrition for women and children, acceleration of women's education, their increase in the labour force and welfare services for women in need. Various welfare and development schemes have been introduced to improve the living conditions of women and to increase their access to and control over material and social resources. Special steps have been taken to remove legal, social and other constraints to enable them to make use of the rights and new opportunities becoming available for them.

27.2 Various studies show that women are becoming increasingly conscious of their rights and capabilities. However, the demographic features of female population like excessive mortality in female children resulting in persistent decline in sex ratio, low rate of literacy, and low economic status stress the need for greater attention to the economic emancipation of women. The low status of women in large segments of Indian society cannot be raised without opening up of opportunities of independent employment and income for them. But the process of change to raise the status of women under various spheres of socio-economic activities would require sustained effort over a period of time.


27.3 Under the different Five Year Plans, general as well as special programmes were taken up for the welfare of women and also to cater to their special requirements. A wide network of maternity and child health centres and family welfare centres were established. An attempt to integrate the family welfare programme with general health services has been made. Prophylaxis against nutritional anaemia amongst mothers and immunisation of pregnant women against tetanus has been taken up along with prophylaxis against blindness in children caused by Vitamin 'A' deficiency and immunisation against diphtheria, whooping-cough, tetanus and polio for children.

27.4 Special nutrition programme was started in 1970-71 for providing nutritional supplements to the most vulnerable group of pregnant and nursing mothers and children of the age group 0—5. Nutrition education has been made a basic component of supplementary nutrition, health and education programmes.

27.5 Emphasis has been laid on increasing the enrolment of girls in schools by providing various incentives. Functional literacy as part of the national adult education programme as well as under the Integrated Child Development Services projects has been given special emphasis.

27.6 The Equal Remuneration Act aims to eliminate discrimination in remuneration against women. Labour laws have been made to provide for material benefits and creches in units employing women.

27.7 Social welfare programmes cater to the special needs of women who by reason of some handicap— social, economic, physical or mental—are unable to avail of or are traditionally denied the amenities and services provided by the community. In the beginning, emphasis was on the provision of institutional services but it has now been shifted to the preventive and developmental aspects.

27.8 Despite all these development measures and the Constitutional legal guarantees, women have lagged behind men in almost all sectors. There has been a steady decline in sex ratio. For 1,000 men there were 972 women in 1901, which became 946 in 1951 and 930 in 1971, while the position is opposite in the developed countries. Sex ratio for all ages in 1971 was 951 for rural areas and 857 for urban areas. The inter-State variations are considerable. The ratio is adverse in the States of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal. It is most favourable in Kerala, followed by Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, the expectation of life at birth, a good indicator of development, shows that it is 44.7 for the females against 46.4 for the males in 1971.

27.9 The surveys by the Registrar-General of India reveal that the infant mortality rate (IMR) is more among female babies as compared to males in rural and urban areas as may be seen from the table below:

Table 27.1 Infant Mortality Rate by Sex and Residence

Year Rural Urban All India
Male Female Male Female Male Female
1972 141 161 85 85 132 148
1978 130 142 69 71 120 131

27.10 It has been estimated that in 1978-79 of the total non-enrolled children of the age group 6—14, two-thirds were girls. In 1979-80, in the age group 6_11, the population of girls in schools was two-thirds that of the boys (about 66 per cent for girls against about 100.2 per cent for boys). In the age group 11_14, the number of girls in the schools was half that of the boys (28 per cent for girls and 52.0 per cent for boys).

27.11 In literacy also, excluding 0—4 years age eroup the number of women literates is less than half of the males (.i.e., 21.,97 per cent for women against 45.95 per cent for males). The rural female literacy rate is only 13.2 per cent (1971) while the urban rate is 42.3 per cent. About 83 districts have less than 5 per cent female literacy and 113 between 5 and 10 per cent. The female literacy for scheduled caste is 6.44 per cent and for scheduled tribe is 4.85 per cent. The rates of literacy varied widely from 3.58 per cent in Anmachal Pradesh, 4.8 per cent in Rajasthan, 7.2 per cent in Bihar to 61 per cent hi Kerala.

27 12 Despite preventive legislation, the age of marriage for girls specially in rural areas and lower strata of society has remained low. The Report of the Committee on the Status of Women shows that the percentage of girls married by 14 years of age in rural areas in 1961 was as high as 22 as compared to 7 among the urban females of the same age group. By 1971, this percentage came down to 14 in rural areas while it dropped to 4 in urban areas. Early marriages result in frequent pregnancies, poor health and lack of opportunity for proper personality development. Repeated pregnancies account f or _ high incidence of anaemia and maternal malnutrition, ultimately leading to high maternal mortality rate.

2713 Women labour force participation rate remained generally unchanged for the last three decades around 28 per cent while in the case of men it was fairly stable around 57 per cent. In the organised sector the women's share increased only slightly from 11 per cent in 1971 to 12.4 per cent in 1979. A lew women in all walks of life reached the top positions but on the whole they continue to be concentrated mainly in low-scale, low-wage and drudgery involving iobs. Women are mainly employed in the unorganised sector which forms the overwhelming majority of female workers (over 90 per cent). This is also linked with their low rate of participation in the training programmes in industrial training institutes, polytechnics, engineering colleges, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, technical and industrial schools, though special measures to expand training opportunities for women in non-traditional occupations have been taken. The details given in Annexures 27.1 and 27.2 are relevant in this regard.


27.14 The main drawbacks in women's development have thus been mainly preoccupation with repeated pregnancies without respite in physical workload, lack of education, formal and non-formal and a preponderance of social prejudices along with lacic of independent economic generation activity or independent assets. The strategy thus has to be threefold_of education, employment and health. They are interdependent and dependent on the total developmental process. In addition, the voluntary adoption of the small family norm has to be promoted among all couples.

27.15 In the Plan, the basic approach is of the family as a unit of development. Within this approach, special attention on the most vulnerable members will be given. The most vulnerable members may change from family to family and within the family from time to time. But for some time in future, women will continue to be one of the most vulnerable members of 'the family. Hence, the economic emancipation of the family with specific attention to women,, education of children and family planning will constitute the three major operational aspects of the family centred poverty alleviation strategy.

27.16 In order to understand and analyse the backwardness of women a disaggregated view of the problem, according to groups, communities and areas is necessary. An aggregate picture is sometimes misleading, e.g., the average female literacy in India is 22 per cent against about 4 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh.

27.17 Separate cells in organisations and agencies generating substantial employment opportunities to look after the women's interests are helpful but have a limited role. It is more important to create a general awareness' and understanding of the problems of women's employment in all the top policy and decision making and executive personnel. There is also the special problem facing women like the preference for male children for social and cultural reasons. This will require awareness, understanding and action. The best way to do so is to educate the children, orient the teachers, examine the text books and teaching-aids and ensure that the next generation grows up with new thinking. As it is not enough to wait for them, non-formal education of men and women is necessary as an immediate short-term measure. Both men and women need education m home science so that the concept of symmetricalfamilies can take root.

27.18 In order to take corrective measures as the programmes are implemented, the statistical data of physical achievement in beneficiary-oriented programmes will have to be collected by sex. The implementation of programmes would be reviewed froni time to time.

27.19 Economic independence would accelerate the improvement of the status of women. Government would endeavour to give joint titles to husband and wife in all development activities involving transfer of assets. This would be taken up for implementation to start within programmes like distribution of land and house-sites and beneficiary-oriented economic units.

27.20 Voluntary action has a key role to play in mobilising public support against social prejudices. Hence its strengthening at the wassroot level will be necessary. Such organisation of voluntary action is necessary for creating a proper climate for the introduction of social legislation as well as for its effective implementation and the provision of legal aid.

27.21 For promoting adequate developmental efforts for women at different levels and creating needed channels for women to participate effectively in decisions that affect their lives, grassroot level organisations should be promoted. Manila Mandals and other voluntary agencies would be encouraged to take up socio-economic programmes for providing wages and self-employment in rural areas. They would be linked with cooperatives and federations for marketing of products. Adequate attention should bs paid to offer technical and managerial assistance to these agencies so that they would prepare viable economic projects for attracting institutional finance and market their products. Marketing, being crucial to the programme, ths arrangements would need to be reviewed.

27.22 The Central Social Welfare Board would continue to be largely responsible to extend support, both technical and financial, to voluntary agencies, particularly in the backward areas. The programmes of the Centra1 Social Welfare Board and those of individual developments will be functionally integrated so as to optimise the benefits from all programmes intended for women.

27.23 Advisory Committees at different levels would be set up for reviewing the adequacy of the imple-mentinq; machineries and periodic progress for various social legislations such as Anti-Dowry Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act, Indian Succession Act, etc. The National Committee for Women headed by the Prime Minister will provide overall guidance and leadership in this field.

27.24 At district levels, special cells for increasing women's participation through wage and self-employment would be set up as part of the proposed machinery for district, manpower planning and employment generation.

27.25 P^escarch and studies to improve data base regarding women v/ould be supported Coordination, evaluaiion and monitoring of the programmes would need to be improved. Science and technology to reduce drudgery or household work would be supported.


27.26 The programmes for universa-'isation of elementary education will be specially directed towards higher enrolment and retention of girls in schools. This would require Balwadi-cum-creches attached to the schools to enable the girls to attend school since otherwise they would have to stay at home to look after the younger brothers and sisters in the absence of mothers at work. It would also require income-generation work for girls outside the school hours to supplement the family's income. Other incentives like uniforms, free books and stationery etc., already in force, would need to be effectively expanded. Women teachers, where necessary, would be appointed in rural areas to encourage girls education. Residential quarters for women teachers would also be constructed. Science teaching in girls' schools/colleges will be strengthened to achieve greater participation of women in science and technology. Admission policies will bs streamlined to promote greater enrolment of women in engineering, electronics, agricultural, veterinary, fishery and forestry courses. In education and training, women would thus be brought to the mainstream along with men to share the facilities fully.

27.27 The functional literacy programme would be expanded, specially in areas having low female literacy rates. Special non-formal educational programmes will be introduced for girls in the age group i5—20 years who cou'd not complete formal schooling earlier. Every effort will be made to ensure that at-least 1/3 of trainees under the TRYSEM programme are girls. Special Krishi, Udyog and Van Vigyan Kendras will bs established for women.

27.28 For boosting the programmes for education of women belonging to backward classes, the number or girls' hostels would be increased. The rates of post-matric scholarships for different courses arc higher for girls as compared to boys. This scheme would be further expanded to provide larger opportunities for girls. Instead of increasing separate women's polytechnics, which were developed a's multipurpose institutions for imparting training in arts, crafts, etc., co-educational institutions would be encouraged as far as possible.


27.29 In health, provision will be made for continuing and expanding the maternal and child health .schemes including antenatal, natal and postnatal services, training \)f popular 'DAIS' who are already practising in every village so as to reduce the material and neo-natal deaths and complications. Training capacity for ANMs would be further augmented to meet the requirement of 'sub-centres. Experience reveals that ANMs posted in rural areas are not able to adjust to the local conditions due to lack of familiarity with the socio-cultural situation, accommodation and security. To overcome these field problems, efforts would be made to select girls from local areas, relax minimum educational qualifications, raise upper-age limit and give preference to widows or deserted women. In almost all the hospitals, the nursing personnel are mainly female. The training facilities for them will be expanded. Family welfare programmes will receive high priority. Sustained effort would be made to create consciousness, acceptance and demand for this programme. Cooperation of the voluntary organisations would be sought for disseminating relevant health and family planmns information and for launching a national movement for population stabilization.

27.30 Effort would be made to expand the minimum health facilities integrated wiih family welfare and nutrition. The nutritional status of a child at birth is influenced by the nutritional status of his mother. It is well documented that a vast majority of pregnant and nursing mothers, especially belonging to the low socio-economic group, live on diets which are inadequate. The high incidence of pre-maturity, low birth weight of babies and neo-natal mortality can be attributed to poor nutritional condition among the mothers. In view of this, importance will be given to improving the maternal nutrition status. With an increase in women's employment, the income of the household would go up thereby resulting not only in raising the nutrition and child-care in the family but also bringing down the birth rate and infant mortality rate.

27.31 The long-term approach to solving the problem of malnutrition in women would be to generate employment among them as it would provide purchasing power to women which will have an impact on her as well as her family's nutritional status. Along with this, basic services like health, creche-cum-balwa-dis, etc. would be provided to enable their employment retention. Till the long-term programme effectively builds up, nutrition intervention to most vulnerable groups of women, namely, pregnant and nursing mothers from the weakest 'sections of the society, would continue to get nutrition supplement under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme. Education will also be imparted on the production and consumption of nutritious foods and on the adoption of simple horticultural remedies involving kitchen gardening for the major nutritional maladies of each block.

27.32 One of the most important means of achieving improvement in the status of women would be to secure for them a fair share of employment opportunities. Areas and sectors where women's employment is either low or on the decline would be identified and corrective measures initiated to promote additional avenues for employment. Effort would be made to offer larger employment for them in the schemes for public distribution system, rural godowns, Operation Flood II, Dairy Development and social forestry and in armed forces. Modernisation of traditional occupations of women such as spinning and weaving, match-making, coir, cashew, rural marketing, agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery, etc., would be selective and would include simultaneous development of skills for alternative employment for them. Mechanisation will be encouraged in such areas where the processing or manufacturing involves extremely strenuous and debilitating hard work which is injurious to health. The impact of new projects on women's employment will be monitored.

27.33 Family aid services would be supported so as to enable women to remain in employment. Enforcement of statutory obligations for setting up creches would be pursued vigorously. Creches would bs established in the hostels for working women, State and Central Government offices, public sector undertakings, residential colonies and projecr sites. Creches will have to be designed for regular establishments as well as tor agricultural, construction and migrant labour families. In rural areas this would be linked up with the scheme of NREP. The implementation of the Equal Remuneration Act would be reviewed and appropriate measures introduced for their effective functioning. Measures would be taken for the payment of wages/salaries earned by women directly to them.

27.34 The specific needs and problems of self-employed women will be identified and steps taken to extend appropriate support to self-employed women like street vendors, petty shop-keepers, weavers, etc.

27.35 A major step to be taken to promote female employment would be to expand and diversify the education and training opportunities available to women. Bias is often at work to prevent women from ioining certain types of education and training in sufficient numbers. Appropriate training facilities would be initiated for the skill-develooment of women iob seekers to promote their employability including self-employment. They would be eligible for employment and training in all fields provided they fulfil the required qualifications. Under the Apprenticeship Training Scheme, placement of increased number of women trainees would receive cpecial attention. Under the Vocational Training Programme for women, rural training component and retting up of more regional institutions are envisaged. The national scheme of Trainin" of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRY-SEM) is expected to cover a large number of rural women. These would also be expected to facilitate the _ removal of skill constraints and biases working asainst the recruitment of women trainees. A fair share of stipends, hostel seat's, etc. would he made available in order to facilitate rapid growth in the number of female trainees. Ac an incentive, special prizes and awards n-nv be instituted for women irainees or students in rf-cotmised institutes. The Programmes would be integrated with production activities.

Social Welfare

27.36 The coverage of the programme of Hostel's for Working Women would be stepped up with emphasis on making this scheme a self-financing project as far as possible. Measures for re-entry of women who go out of employment for raising their families would be considered along with the provision of Part-time jobs in an organised manner. Besides arrangements for keeping their knowledge up-to-date, specially in science and technology would be considered. Training and rehabilitation schemes for women in need of care and protection would be formulated to facilitate their absorption into the normal stream of socio-economic life. Institutional services would be expanded 'selectively to provide shelter to the most needy and unrehabilitable category only. The socially and physically handicapped women would be helped to take advantage of the services provided under social defence and handicapped sub-sectors of social welfare programmes. However, the trades under the training programmes under various institutions would have to be diversified to make their rehabilitation successful.

27.37 In summary, the major thrust of the VI Plan in the field of welfare of women is their economic upliftment through greater opportunities for salaried, self and wage employment. For this purpose, appropriate technologies, services and public policies will be introduced. The technological package will include imparting new skills and upgrading existing skills. The service package will pay attention to training and credit needs and to marketing. The public policy package will include measures in the area of ownership rights, enforcement of wage laws and employment impact assessment with reference to the employment of women in development projects. Women's organisations will be assisted to grow in effectiveness. Specific attention will be paid for the removal of socio-economic biases resulting in the neglect of female children and women. Measure's for their improvement of health and nutritional status will be strengthened. Programmes relating to education, health, nutrition and employment would no doubt go a long way in the removal of social disabilities facing women. However, the improvements in the socio-economic status of women would depend to a large extent on the social change in the value system, attitudes and social structure prevailing in the country.

Annexure 27.1 Education level-wise participation of women in Labour Force and unemployment among
them in 1977-78 as revealed by 32nd round of NSS. (Principal activity rural—States)

Category % Shire in Labour force Libourforc' Participation Rate Unemployment Rate
(1)   (2) (3)   (4)  
(i) (1)itardts 88.11 (55-01) 34-19 (67-56) 4-04 (0-60)
(ii) LitcMts and upto Middle School 10-68 (39-33) 16-01 (57-56) 13-16 (2-75)
(iii) Sscondary Schoo 1 1-02 (4-64) 33-65 (75-27) 45-84 (13-01)
(iv) Graduate and above 0-19 (1-02) 55-54 (89-00) 44-81 (19-72)
ALL 100-00 (100'00) 30-51 (63-67) 5-52 (2-22)
(i)(Literate 25-83 (22-09) 23-18 (60-39) 7-88 0-16)
(ii) Literate and upto Middle School 35-49 (50-85) 9-03 (53-84) 25-65 (6-57)
(iii) Secondary School 25-71 (18-38) 22-26 (72-27) 42-37 (10-OS)
(iv) Graduate and above 12-97 (8-68) (100-00) 43-64 17-06 (88-02) (60-12) 35-92 17-76 (9-31) (6-48)
ALL 100-00
(i) Illiterate 52- 59 (48-43) 32-88 (66-84) 4-37 (0- 74)
(ii) Literate and upto Middle School 28-56 (41-63) 13-49 (56-6J) 16-18 (3-69)
(iii) Secondary School 13-78 (7-39) 25-80 (73-75) 43-78 (11-56)
(iv) Graduate and above 5-07 (2-55) 45-36 (88-33) 37-49 (12 63)
ALL 100-00 (100-00) 27-83 (62-92) 7-01 (3-07)

N.B.: Figures in braskets represent the male participation rate.

Annexure 27-2 Industry-wise Employment of women in the organised Sector (As on 3IstMarch, each Year)

    1971 1979
Sl.No. Industry Division Number of Women Employed Proportion of Women to Total Employed Number of Women Employed Proportion of Women to Total Employed
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
    (000) (Per cent) (000) (Per cent)
(1) Agriculture and Allied Activities 405 37-6 581-6 35-9
2 Mining and quarrying 54 8-9 85-8 9-64
3 Manufacturing 422 9-0 573-3 9-78
4 Electricity, Gas and Water Supply 16 3-7 13-4 2-0
5 Construction 56 5-9 59-0 5-29
6 Trade and Commerce 29 5-0 20-7 5-46
7 Transport, Storage and Communications 44 1-9 67-9 2-54
8 Financial, Insurance, Real Estate and Business 865 13-4 66-0 7-78
9 Community, Social and Personal Services (included in Item 8)   1194-2 15-56
  Total 1891 11-1 2760-8 12-4

Source : Directorate General of Employment and Training.

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