7th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)
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14.1 The Constitution of India provides for equal rights and privileges for men and women and makes special provisions for women to help them improve their status in society. A number of social enactments have been put on the statute books for removing various constraints which hindered their progress. In-spite of these measures, women have lagged behind men in different spheres, especially in education. The female literacy rate has consistently been lower in rural as well as urban sectors. In rural areas, where 77 per cent of the female population lives, women's literacy rate is only 17.96 per cent. The urban literacy rate for females is 47.82 per cent. The literacy rate for females varies from 65.73 per cent in Kerala to only 11.42 per cent in Rajasthan. There are many reasons for this, generally of sociological nature.

14.2 The health problem of women in society at large is another crucial area not given the required attention. Due to the predominantly patriarchal order, women are confined within an oppressive environment. Differences are frequently noted between health and nutritional status of men and women. Nutritional surveys have indicated high rates of inadequacies among females compared to males. Female infants and children are subject to neglect in respect of nutrition and health care. Statistics from primary health centres show that adult women do not generally take treatment from them. Maternal mortality continues to be very high. A number of studies have indicated that a large number of children suffer from malnutrition, to which the mother's poor health contributes to a great extent. Anaemia among rural women is estimated to be as high as 60—80 per cent, leading to low birth weight among babies.

14.3 According to the 1981 Census, only 14 per cent of the total female population in the country fall in the category of "workers". The unpaid economic activities of women and their contribution through work in the domestic sectors remain unreported in the census. An ILO study has estimated that the value of unpaid household work constitutes 25-39 per cent of the total gross national product in developing countries.

14.4 Women play an important role in agricultural production, animal husbandry and other related activities such as storage, marketing of produce, food processing etc. Apart from these, they spend almost 10-12 hours per day doing household chores, including fetching of water and gathering of fuel. Large number of female labour are engaged in the plantation sector. About 54 per cent of rural women and 26 per cent of urban women are engaged in marginal occupations in order to supplement the family income by collection of fish, small game, firewood, cowdung, maintenance of kitchen gardens, tailoring, weaving and teaching, but the quantification of this activity, in terms of work-hours contributed, or its income-generating equivalent was not attempted or recorded.

14.5 Recently, a declining trend has been observed in the employment of women labourers. Some of the new technologies have displaced women from many of the traditional activities. The incomes of the poor households are supplemented by women, although they have to face many problems due to family responsibilities, limited mobility and social restrictions. The Green Revolution has led to increased demands for casual labour, dispossession of small landholders from their land and consequently, pushing out of women from such small landholdings to become wage earners. Though many of the tasks performed by males are getting mechanised, the women continue to toil in labour intensive jobs like rice transplantation, cleaning and storage of grain in post-harvest operations, picking of leaves and fruit, handshelling groundnut, picking out cotton seed, etc. Women get limited job opportunities in modern occupations/trades as they do not have access to the training required for new technologies. In many areas where multiple crops are grown, the workload of women has increased. In industry, women continue to be employed mostly on unskilled jobs. The average earning of a regular salaried woman worker continues to be less than that of a man.

14.6 An emerging phenomenon in the rural scene is the "single-parent rural family", due to large-scale migration of men seeking employment in urban areas. The woman has to assume the role of head of the household and responsibility for the support and care of children and also of the elders in the rural family. Her income is inadequate to meet the family's needs; thus, there is tension in the family, as remittances from the men-folk are mostly irregular as also meagre, given the high cost (and many temptations) of urban living.

14.7 There is considerable evidence to show that parents discriminate against girls in the matter of science education. With the majority of women being engaged in agriculture and allied fields, an exposure to science and technology aimed at, and for the benefit of, women has yet to come about. There is a felt need to structure courses, through visual as well as other (literacy-based) media, which are related to health and health care, nutrition (especially of young children), simple-to-follow techniques against morbidity (especially from water-borne infections) and infant mortality (e.g., oral rehydration therapy), food preservation and enrichment and for a balanced diet using readily available natural foods and additives. Inputs of science and technology are required also in housing, cooking and performance of other household work, which can lead to a considerable reduction in drudgery. Time and energy thus saved could be used by rural women for improvement of their knowledge, skill and aptitude levels.

14.8 There has been, in general, a lack of awareness among the people about various legislations and programmes being implemented for the benefit of women. Although the socio-cultural situation, to a great extent, keeps women isolated, lately the radio, TV and other mass communication media have exposed them to information and knowledge. However, such exposure has not yet resulted in creating consciousness to the desired extent among women, nor has it succeeded in loosening the hold of tradition-oriented thinking and mores. The significant role that is rightly women's in such vital areas as attitudes to education, health and health care as well as nutrition and related delivery system, reduction of infant mortality;in meaningful participation in many skilled jobs in advanced science and technology areas like medicine and medical research, electronics and informatics, education and teaching, energy-conservation and in improving the quality of life, has not yet been grasped fully by society at large.


14.9 During the Sixth Plan, a variety of programmes were taken up under different sectors of development to ameliorate the working conditions of women and to raise their economic and social status.

14.10 A special, cell created in 1976 continued to look after the employment of women and monitor the implementation of the Equal Remuneration Act, enacted to provide for wages equal to those of men for work of similar nature. Three regional vocational training centres, one each at Bangalore, Bombay and Trivandrum, and a National Vocational Training Institute at New Delhi, with a total annual intake capacity of 600 women trainees, were set up by the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGE and T). Apart from these, 144 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) exclusively meant for women were functioning in different States by the end of the Sixth Plan. The intake capacity in these institutions is 11,200 per annum.

14.11 In the Rural Development Sector, the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) accorded priority to women heads of households. On the whole, women comprised 7 per cent of the beneficiaries covered under the IRDP during the Sixth Plan. A decision was also taken that a minimum of one-third of the beneficiaries under TRYSEM would be women and thereby, about 3.27 lakh women constituting 34.8 per cent of the total number of beneficiaries were trained. A new scheme, namely, "Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas" (DWCRA) was started in 1982-83 as a pilot project in 50 blocks of the country. Women who were not in a position to take advantage of schemes under the IRD Programme were organised into homogeneous groups of 15 to 20. Each such group was provided training in a chosen economic activity along with necessary infrastructure. Such activities included weaving, fish vending, broom and rope making, brick making and pickle making. Training was also given in candle making and in baking. The scheme has proved quite popular. Over 1900 groups were formed and trained, benefiting about 30,000 women during the two-year period, 1983-85.

14.12 The scheme of Krishi Vigyan Kendras introduced for bridging the gap between the farmer's knowledge and available technology also covered women. Eight home science colleges for women attached to agricultural universities were set up to provide training and research facilities.

14.13 A radical move in the concerted attempt to improve women's status was the decision to confer joint titles on husband and wife in all development activities involving transfer of assets, distribution of land and house sites.

14.14 In order to encourage girls into elementary and higher education, a Centrally sponsored scheme was taken up for providing financial assistance to educationally-backward States for establishing non-formal education centres exclusively for girls. Financial assistance was given for appointment of women teachers in primary schools. Incentives were provided to States at different administrative levels for encouraging girls to enrol in larger numbers. Text-books for elementary and high schools were evaluated with a view to vocationalising higher education.

14.15 Nearly 73 per cent of the total non-enrolled children in the 6-11 years age group were girls. In the age group 11-14 years, only 38 per cent of girls had been enrolled for formal education. The drop-out rate for girls both at the elementary and secondary levels of education continues to be high. To boost enrolment in the primary classes, early childhood education centres for children in the age-group 3-6 years were set up as adjuncts to primary schools for the first time in the Sixth Five Year Plan in rural and backward areas. These centres also provided creche facilities for younger siblings of girls attending primary schools. The scheduled caste/ scheduled tribe girls continued to receive higher rates of post-matric scholarships as compared to boys. Other incentives to girls included free clothing and free tuition. To give additional fillip to higher education among women, separate universities for women have been established in the States of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

14.16 Special programmes were taken up for women in adult education centres, providing education in subjects like health, nutrition, child care and family planning. The curriculum also included skills like teaching, sewing, embroidery and building up of awareness and functionality through discussions and literature. The enrolment of women under the Adult Education Programme in December, 1984, was reported 2.89 million, the coverage being about 52 per cent of the total enrolment. Besides, 4,62,000 women were also covered under the programme "Functional Literacy for Adult Women", implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare.

14.17 Under the scheme "Science and Technology for Women" a wide spectrum of activities was taken up. Projects were sponsored for development of smokeless chullahs, use of solar cookers, setting up bio-gas plants, and devices for improving the water purification system. New programmes which had a bearing on the overall economic development of women and reduction in their drudgery have been identified, comprising improved agricultural implements for farming in hill areas, better methods of sheep-rearing and wool-spinning devices for women. Several technologies were developed in the areas of transplantation, post harvest activities, fish-cum-paddy culture, processing of rice products, fish processing, pearl culture, and in the cashew and coir industry. Research and development activities were taken up to minimise physical discomfort to orthopaedically handicapped women while working on handlooms.

14.18 Added impetus was given to the training of women in instrumentation technology for repair and maintenance of electronic equipments in offices and hospitals. In certain areas of West Bengal, tribal women were trained in making blocks from stone chips, in bamboo craft and rope making. Tribal women were also trained as rural health workers in Maharashtra. With a view to training women in identification of herbs of medicinal value and cultivation and preparation of standardised medicinal formulations experiments were conducted on vegetable gardening in courtyards and on rooftops. Studies were undertaken to assess the incidence of bronchial asthma and skin diseases amongst women engaged in sericulture.

14.19 A report was brought out on "Occupational and Environmental Health Problems of Indian Women", containing detailed information on the health hazards to women in different occupations. Also, a film, "Science and Technology for Women", is under preparation.

14.20 A number of technology demonstration-cum-training centres at selected focal points all over the country were set up by National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) to provide expertise and resources to women entrepreneurs in respect of new technologies relevant to their daily needs and economic enterprises. Low-cost industrial technologies were also developed, relating to food products, post-harvest operation, domestic aids for pure drinking water, educational toys, low-cost latrines and improved chullahs. A number of projects on agro-waste compaction, machines for converting agricultural waste into fuel and other technologies relating to food, chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, energy and fuel, building materials, were taken up by NRDC. A compendium on appropriate technologies for women developed by NRDC was also published.

14.21 A major step was taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to provide a boost to women's participation in the field of science and technology by enhancing by 10 years the age of eligibility for women scientists to receive research fellowships.

14.22 Various measures have been taken to improve women's health and nutritional status. Nutritional intervention to the most vulnerable groups of women, namely, pregnant and nursing mothers belonging to the weaker sections, was given high priority. Under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), special nutrition was provided to pregnant women and nursing mothers. At the end of the Sixth Plan, more than 1.2 million such women were receiving benefits under the programme.

14.23 Provision was made for expanding maternal and child health (MCH) programmes including training of local dais. In order to induct local women as auxiliary nurse-midwives (ANMs), the educational qualifications for their training were relaxed to the seventh standard if girls with requisite educational qualifications at the higher level were not available. The upper age limit of training for ANMs was also raised. Prophylaxis programmes against nutritional anaemia of pregnant and lactating mothers were implemented. Iron and folic acid tablets were distributed to more than 72.5 million pregnant women and nursing mothers. Tetanus Toxoid was administered to about 36 million pregnant women.

14.24 Under the family welfare programme, the couple protection rate was expected to have reached 36.6 per cent by the end of March 1985. It is worth mentioning that the female infant mortality rate had fallen from 148 in 1972 to 115 in 1980, whereas the male infant mortality rate fell from 132 in 1972 to 113 in 1980. The fall in mortality rate of female infants has been more rapid as compared to males. However, the rate of infant mortality is still too high (though there are considerable inter-State differences) and needs to be reduced drastically. The sex ratio which had persistently been declining upto 1971 had shown a slight rise in 1981. In the 1971 Census, the sex ratio was recorded as 930, but this rose to 933 in the 1981 Census. The maternal mortality rate of 4.17 per thousand live births during 1980 continued to be disturbingly high.

14.25 A number of schemes were taken up in the social welfare sector to benefit destitute and needy women. By the end of 1984-85, voluntary organisations were assisted in the construction of 344 hostels for working women. Nearly 3000 women were given training in skills in modern industries and provided employment under the scheme "Employment and Income-Generating. Trai-ning-cum-Production Centres for Women". Condensed courses of education and vocational training courses were organised by a number of voluntary organisations benefiting 1,11,000 women. Under the "socio-economic programme," 3589 units were sanctioned, with a coverage of 47,011 women. The scheme of "Assistance to women in distress" covered only 9,260 women through 267 vocational co . 3s in non-traditional trades with the aim of making th :se women economically independent.

14.26 For creating increasing awareness of the role of women in development and the need for improvement of their status, various media units under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting presented appealing programmes on social and economic problems and other related issues faced by women.

14.27 To mould public opinion against atrocities on women, a number of interviews and discussions were" held with legal experts, social workers and officials of women's organisations. All India Radio, in collaboration with different State Governments, and assisted by UN-ICEF, organised twelve radio workshops on maternity and child care. The various Doordarshan Kendras also in eluded in their programmes messages pertaining to thi status of women. Audience programmes for rural peopli and industrial workers were also telecast. The Pres Information Bureau took up a programme of mas;education and information to promote positive socis attitudes towards women and motivate people to figh social evils like dowry, child marriage, drinking, etc.  booklet entitled 'Status of Women' was published by thi Directorate of Field Publicity. The Song and Dram, Division of AIR took up programmes for women's uplift ment. The Film and Television Institute of India prepare! programmes highlighting women's problems and de velopment schemes for them.


14.28 The long-term objective of the developments programmes for women would be to raise their economi and social status in order to bring them into the main stream of national development. Due recognition has ti be accorded to the role and contribution of women in th< various socio-economic, political and cultural activities

14.29 In the Seventh Plan, the basic approach would b' to inculcate confidence among women and bring about ai awareness of their own potential for development, as alsi of their rights and privileges. The various mass corn munication media would be utilised extensively in this task. Special measures would be initiated for stric enforcement of the Dowry Prohibition Act and also ti prevent harassment and atrocities on women. Voluntar agencies and educational institutions would be full' involved in launching organised compaigns to comba these evils. An integrated multi-disciplinary approad would be adopted covering employment, education health, nutrition, application of science and technolog;and other related aspects in areas of interest to women Efforts would be made to extend facilities for income generating activities and to enable women to participate actively in socio-economic development. The educationa programmes will be restructured and the school curriculc will be modified to eliminate gender bias. Enrolment o girls in elementary, higher secondary and higher education courses, formal as well as non-formal, will be giver high priority.

14.30 In the field of science and technology, stress would be laid on evolving devices to reduce the drudgery of women, so that the time saved is utilised for developmental activities. Training and retraining would be ensurec for many S and T related programmes. The beneficiary-oriented programmes in the various sectors of development would be suitably modified or re-oriented so that the due share of benefits from such programmes is availed o1 by them.

14.31 Collation and analysis of information and relevant data on the development programmes for women will be undertaken in an effective manner.


14.32 Education: During the Seventh Plan, sustained efforts, through various schemes and measures, would have to be made in order to reach 100 per cent coverage in elementary education, for children upto the age of 14 years. The scheme of "Financial Assistance to Voluntary Agencies to run early childhood education (pre-school) centres as adjuncts of primary/middle schools" would be expanded, particularly to evolve innovative models suited to specific learner groups or areas. The programme would receive greater attention in all the ICDS blocks. Educational campaigns for tackling the prejudices and socio-religious constraints would be taken up on a wider scale, since nearly three-fourths of the out-of-school children are girls. Efforts would be made to enrol and retain girls in school, especially in rural areas and for children belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections. At the elementary stage, education has been made free for girls in all States/UTs. Priority would continue to be given to women in teacher's training programmes to increase the availability of trained women teachers, and thereby to enhance girls' enrolement and retention in schools. Incentives like uniforms, free textbooks and attendance scholarships would be continued to the needy girls in all schools.

14.33 Non-formal elementary education would be expanded to benefit girls in the age-group 6-14 years.

14.34 Under the Adult Education Programme, apart from increasing the coverage, the educational content of the programme would be modified to incorporate new value systems in the community regarding the role of women in the family and community.

14.35 The Seventh Plan envisages, among other schemes, the preparation of district level plans as a mass movement with local community participation both for activising and implementing the literacy programmes, and the creation of special mechanisms to monitor the progress of implementation at State level. Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Training of Rural Youth in Self-Employment (TRYSEM) and other such programmes would have a component of functional literacy for women beneficiaries.

14.36 Talented girls would be encouraged to pursue higher education. It is also proposed to expand the "Open Learning Systems", including correspondence courses for them.

14.37 In order to promote technical and vocatic education for girls, more women's polytechnics would set up and programmes for vocationalisation of educat would be expanded.

14.38 To boost education among the girls of 1 scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, additional fac ties would continue to be provided under the de\ lopment of backward classes sector. Girls above t matriculation stage would get higher scholarship stipends than those for the boy students. Financ assistance is envisaged for construction of hostel bui ings for girls at district level, and for purchase equipment, furniture, utensils, books and periodicals these hostels.

14.39 Under the National Sports Policy, participation women and girls in sports and games would be eneoi aged. Stress would be laid on the identification of spor talent among women and provision made for spor scholarships, coaching and nourishment support fi promising girls with a view to increase standards of the performance in competitive games. Besides, schemes for encouraging traditional folk, tribal and hill arts and cultur activities would be expanded and strengthened.

14.40 Health: Under the health sector, the rnajc thrust during the next ten years will be directed toward the reduction of the prevailing high maternal and infar mortality rates. For this purpose emphasis will be placed oi the expansion of MCH care which will give considerabi importance to preventive, promotive and educations services. Specifically, schemes for giving tetanus toxoin to mothers and providing proper ante-natal care will be taken up on a sizeable scale. Besides, close linkages wit! other related sectors will be established in order to make c dent on the problem. The health and family welfare services will be made available to all women in the reproductive age group. The existing bed-strengths at the district hospitals would be augmented and a sizeable proportion of them would be allocated to women and children. The health sub-centre coverage for providing health services would be progressively reduced to below 5000 persons per sub-centre. Besides, nutrition supplements, iron and folic acid tablets would be given to mothers for bridging the calorie-vitamin and mineral deficiency gap as well as for fighting anaemia. The scheme for training of birth attendants and auxiliary nurse midwives would be expanded considerably. Efforts would be made to promote health consciousness, so that the available health infrastructure could be fully utilised. Mass media, voluntary agencies, village health committees, women's organisations and dais will be employed to spread knowledge about simple remedies for common disorders. Women would also be informed about misleading advertisements regarding the use of tonics, health drinks, etc. Knowledge about the nutritional status of girls and its impact on the health and weight of the babies born would be disseminated widely. Such published information would include the demographic and socio-cultural implications of the present adverse sex ratio and low age at marriage.


14.41 (i) Agriculture and allied sectors: Special atten-tion would be given to improving existing skills of women and imparting to them new skills under the programmes of farmers' training, exchange of farmers, training in horticulture, fisheries, poultry, dairy development, fodder production, post-harvest technology, application of pesticides, budding and grafting, social forestry etc. Horticultural research and development programmes would play a significant role in economic and nutritional progress, particularly with respect to the problem of under-nutrition of pregnant women and nursing mothers and their children.

(ii) Rural development: The Integrated Rural Development Programme, meant for the poorest in the rural areas, has been formulated for creating assets with a view to increasing the productivity and income-generation ability of the beneficiaries in a specified period of time. The programme has been extended to all the 5092 development blocks in the country during the Sixth Plan. About 20 million beneficiaries would be covered during the Seventh Plan. This would include 50 per cent of the old beneficiaries who may require a second dose of assistance at an average rate of Rs. 500/-. The new beneficiaries, however, would receive an enhanced rate of subsidy of Rs. 1333/-. The scheme covers landless labourers, small and marginal farmers, rural artisans and other workers like fishermen. Efforts have been made under this programme to select households headed by women beneficiaries. This approach will be continued during the Seventh Plan, and importance would be given to achieve a larger coverage of women. Households headed by women would account for at least 20 per cent of the coverage. The scheme of DWCRA would be strengthened and modified in order to ensure that the benefits reach the target groups.

The National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) and Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Scheme (RLEGP) would generate additional employment in rural areas during the lean season. Stress would be laid on giving adequate employment to women beneficiaries under these schemes.

Under the programme of TRYSEM, 40 youths in the age-group 18-35 years per development block are identified and provided training in avocations which may enable them to set up self-employment ventures. About one third of the beneficiaries under this programme are expected to be women.

(iii) Land reforms: The scheme for providing financial assistance to the Assignees of Ceiling Surplus Land (ACSL) obtained from the implementation of land ceiling laws, is under operation since August, 1975. The Central assistance for this scheme is intended to enable allottees to buy inputs and other necessary wherewithals of cultivation. This policy will be oriented to confer benefits on a larger number of households headed by women. Families of landless agricultural and other sections of the vulnerable groups will be given usufruct rights to grow trees on road sides, waste lands, etc.

(iv) Industry: Public sector undertakings would be persuaded to sponsor ancillary industries in collaboration with State level agencies dealing with development programmes for women to provide increased employment opportunities around them. Attempts would also be made to identify and target the women beneficiaries under Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) and Industrial Estates.

(v) Village and small-scale industries: The schemes for the introduction of new technologies and the induction of expertise through upgradation of training would be further expanded. The scope of the specific training programmes for women entrepreneurs will be widened in order to fully familiarise them with the technical know-how needed for setting up enterprises. The number of such women entrepreneurs would also be increased. Rural technology institutions, and mobile technology and training units would be considerably expanded. These organisations would regularly conduct special training courses for women at various levels. The training would be oriented, wherever possible, to schemes like IRDP, TRYSEM, etc. Taking up special programmes for women by agencies like process-cum-product development centres (PPDCs), training centres and small industries service institutes (SISI) would be examined. A massive programme for training of artisans, managers, supervisors and entrepreneurs would have to be taken up to expand efficient production and for promotion of skilled employment. Women's participation in these schemes will be increased substantially.

Besides, the district industries centres (DICs) will play a special role in the identification of groups of women artisans/workers for disseminating information relating to avocations to be taken up and the nature of support that could be extended by governmental agencies.

Presently, some special provisions in terms of infrastructure facilities like industrial sheds are being extended to women entrepreneurs. As this facility is not adequate, efforts would be made to set up mini-industrial estates exclusively for women on a much larger scale. Special facilities like sheds and plots at subsidised rates to units exclusively run by women and/or employing female labour will be given.

The National Small Industries Corporation and other apex organisations would extend support for marketing, product design and financial support for raw material procurement. Concessional financial requirements will also be considered for meeting fully the working capital requirements and for providing margin money for seed capital. The distinct and unique role assigned to the handloom sector will be preserved and several measures would be initiated both for consolidation and expansion of this sector.

Under the programme of training of workers and entrepreneurs, women beneficiaries will be given importance. Women are expected to obtain sizeable employment under this sector. Coir making, sericulture and small scale industries are some such sectors which offer great potential.

(vi) Khadi and village industries: During the Seventh Plan the employment coverage under khadi and village industries is likely to increase from the present 3.80 million persons to 5.86 million persons. A considerable proportion of this additional employment will come to women, and the percentage share of women is expected to increase from 46 to 48 per cent during the Seventh Plan.

(vii) Other measures: Efforts will be made towards creation and promotion of equal employment opportunities for men and women. Implementation of the Equal Remuneration Act will be strengthened to ensure that women workers are paid wages as prescribed in the Act from time to time. Studies would be sponsored to examine whether equal remuneration under the Act is related to work outputs under different sectors of employment. Similarly, studies will be undertaken on the implementation of the Factories' Act 1948, the Plantation Labour Act 1951 and the Mines' Act of 1952 to assess whether the interests of women are adequately protected. Areas/ sectors where women's employment is low would be identified and measures for improving their prospects will be taken. Emphasis will also be placed on the study and identification of factors that hinder women's employment. Special agencies will be set up for extending credit facilities for self-employment and home-based workers. Relaxation of age limit for women for entry into government services and public sector undertakings will be considered. Avenues for creation of part-time employment for women will also be explored.

14.42 Science and technology: Programme on "Science and Technology for Women" would be further strengthened to identify, formulate sponsor and implement research and development, demonstration and extension programmes, with special emphasis on providing opportunities for gainful employment/self employment to women specially to those in rural areas.

14.43 The training programmes at different levels such as those for unemployed graduates, school drop-outs and housewives will be strengthened and expanded, for improving the trainees' skills. Besides, skill manuals and training aids in areas of agriculture, animal husbandry and other new occupations would be prepared to provide opportunities of independent employment and income for women. Assistance of voluntary organisations would be sought for taking need based technologies to the target groups and in obtaining feedback regarding the acceptance of the programme and in the identification of factors that influence the transfer of technologies. Under the concept of Vigyan Kendras, the possibility of setting up rural banks for lending improved agricultural tools would be explored and new groups would be identified, preferably those in which scientists and technologists are actively involved for taking up developmental programmes for women at the grassroot level.

14.44 Special training programmes would continue to be sponsored for women in polytechnics and other institutions of technical education in areas such as repair and maintenance of radios, television and other electronic hardware or consumer durables, manufacture of PVC goods, lacquer work, fibre reinforced plastics etc. Involvement of women voluntary agencies and home science colleges would be ensured.

14.45 Socal Welfare: The programmes for women under the Social Welfare sector are meant to supplement the services available to women under other developmental sectors. Further strengthening is envisaged of the on-going schemes which have been found useful in skill formation and creation of gainful employment among women. Very close linkages with specialised agencies such as ICAR, ICMR, DST, Rural Development, Industry and Education are called for.

14.46 The Central Social Welfare Board would continue to extend grants-in-aid to voluntary organisations to set up a variety of income generating units under the "Socio-Economic Programme" for the benefit of needy women. Efforts would be made to improve the programme by introducing better technical and marketing support. The scheme of assistance to public undertakings/corporations and autonomous organisations for supporting projects aimed at income generation and employment among women from weaker sections on a sustained basis with the help of Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) would be further expanded, with focus on diversified occupations and inculcating new skills required by the job market. Grants would also be given for organising condensed educational and vocational training courses for adult women so as to improve their employment prospects. Short-duration training courses (not exceeding one year) in non-traditional trades would be expanded for rehabilitating women in distress and their dependent children. Construction/expansion of hostels for working women from low-income groups will be accelerated with a view to provide accommodation with improved standards of service at reasonable cost. The possibility of involving the inmates in the management of these hostels would be explored. The scheme of training of rural women in public cooperation will be extended to develop leadership qualities among them and to involve them in the developmental activities of the country.

14.47 A new scheme, namely, Women's Development Corporations, would be taken up for promoting employment-generating activities by supporting schemes for women's groups and women from poorer sections of society. These corporations would identify potential areas of employment and assist beneficiaries in project formulation, raising the requisite finances and marketing of their products. A Women's Development Planning and Monitoring Cell will be set up for collection of data and monitoring of Plan programmes. Provision has also been made for a few innovative schemes/projects which, if found successful, would be replicated.

14.48 Voluntary organisations: At present the effort by voluntary agencies is rather uneven, and is mostly concentrated in the urban areas. These agencies have to be stimulated to extend their programmes to rural, hilly and backward areas. They would be encouraged to create public opinion against social evils like child marriage, dowry, illiteracy and atrocities on women. Sustained effort would be made for increasing the age at marriage of girls and for improving the adverse sex ratio. There is lack of awareness about the existing social legislation to protect the interests of women. Voluntary agencies would be supported to undertake educational work and bring in awareness among women regarding their rights and privileges. They would also be associated in extension activities.

14.49 The voluntary organisations would be involved in delivering the "Messages" on preventive and promotive health and social and nutritive care for women and children. It has been well established that blindness, leprosy, tuberculosis, polio, accidents, drug addiction and prostitution afflict vast numbers of our population. Instead of expending large sums on therapeutic and rehabilitative services (which are costly for those affected), emphasis would be on preventive care. Voluntary agencies, educational institutions and training centres would be involved and aided to take up various activities for promoting preventive measures in a planned and coordinated manner. Production of films, documentaries, literature and other forms of mass communication and deployment of non-formal channels of communication by these agencies and institutions would be fully supported. Besides, they can also take up porgrammes of vocational training for adult women and girls from poorer sections on a large scale in order to enlarge and improve the avenues of employment. There is an urgent need for 'public conveniences' for women at those bus stands, railway stations, theatres and market places which lack this amenity. Voluntary agencies would be encouraged to take up this work in a big way.


14.50 A proper monitoring mechanism will be developed to ensure optimal utilisation of facilities meant for women under different sectors and to minimise leakages. The special cells which are being set up in the Ministries for this purpose will be strengthened in order to ensure proper monitoring and coordination of different schemes. Steps will be taken to strengthen the machinery for monitoring progress of various schemes at State and district levels.

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