8th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)
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Agricultural and Allied Activities || Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation || Irrigation, Command Area Development and Flood Control || Environment and Forests || Industry and Minerals || Village and Small Industries and Food Processing Industries || Labour and Labour Welfare || Energy || Transport || Communication, Information and Broadcasting || Education, Culture and Sports || Health and Family Welfare || Urban Development || Housing, Water Supply and Sanitation || Social Welfare || Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes || Special Area Development Programmes || Science and Technology || Plan Implementation and Evaluation


15.1.1 Human resource development plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of a country. It is an investment towards improving the quality of human life. Although development brings economic gains to society in general, specific measures become necessary to ensure that they reach the disadvantaged and the weaker sections of the population such as women, children, the disabled, the elderly, and the destitute. The welfare and development of these weaker sections of the society largely depend upon suitable policy directions executed through appropriate programmes and strategies.


15.2.1 The need to bring women into the mainstream of development has been a national concern since Independence. Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex etc. Article 15(3), however, clarifies that this provision will not prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children.

15.2.2 In the earlier phase of Indian planning, women's development concerns had a low profile. There were, however, some significant beginnings. A major initiative was the establishment of the Central Social Welfare Board in 1953 to promote and assist voluntary organisations in the field of women welfare, child welfare and welfare of the handicapped. Under the community development programme, Mahila Mandals were promoted and supported since the Second Plan. Some legislative measures were also undertaken to protect the interests of women as, for instance, the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Third and the Fourth Plans accorded a high priority to education of women. Measures to improve maternal and child health services, supplementary feeding for children and nursing and expectant mothers were introduced. The Fifth Plan supported economic development, employment and training for women as the principal focus for their socio-economic development. The main approach in these Planswas generally to view women as the beneficiaries of social services rather than as contributors to development.

15.2.3 The seventies brought women to the forefront of development concerns with the publication of the Report of the Committee on Status of Women in India, the observance of the International Women's Year in 1975 and the preparation of a National Plan of Action for Women. This decade also saw the enactment of important specific legislations like the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. The creation of a separate Bureau of Women's Development and the setting up of a national committee with the Prime Minister as President were intended to provide strong administrative support to women's development. During the Sixth Plan, a multi-sectoral approach was adopted for women' s development and, for the first time, a coordinated picture was presented in the Plan. A separate Department of Women's Welfare was carved out at the Centre in 1985 from the then existing Ministry of Social and Women's Welfare to give a separate identity and to provide a nodal point on matters relating to women's development. Legislative measures were taken to provide protection to women against discrimination, exploitation, atrocities and violence. Various labour legislations were amended to safeguard the interests of women and provide for their welfare.

Review of the Seventh Plan and the Annual Plans 1990-92

15.3.1 The Seventh Plan continued this strategy. The National Perspective Plan for Women (1988-2000) provides directions for all-round development of women. The National Commission on Self-Employed Women and Women in Informal Sector submitted a comprehensive report titled "Shramshakti", analysing the problems affecting large number of women in the informal sector and the steps needed to give them a better deal.

15.3.2 A significant step taken in the Seventh Plan towards improving women's status was the identification of a number of beneficiary-oriented programmes under various sectors development. These programmes were .egularly monitored by the concerned Ministries/Departments and coordinated at the Centre by the Department of Women and Child Development .

15.3.3 The number of women beneficiaries assisted under the .Integrated Rural Development Programme was 34.33 lakhs in the Seventh Plan. The percentage of women beneficiaries increased from 9.9 in 1985-86 to 25.6 in. I989-90. Under TRYSEM, 4.59 lakh women were trained for self-employment in the Seventh Plan. Under both the programmes, the minimum percentage of women beneficiaries has now been raised to 40. Under Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, 30 per cent employment opportunities are reserved for women. In 1990-91, the share of women in employment generation under JRY was about 24 per cent. Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), launched in 1982-83, to increase rural women's access to employment, skills, training, credit and other support services, covered 187 districts in 1990-91. The programme follows a group approach. Over 28,000 women's groups were formed in the Seventh Plan.

15.3.4 Efforts were also made in the Seventh Plan to enhance women's skills in agricultural operations. Agricultural extension services under the Training and Visit System organised gender sensitisation training camps, enrolled women contact farmers and made special efforts to disseminate knowledge to women farmers. Operation Flood II and III involved rural women in dairy development on cooperative lines by training them in various activities relating to milk production. In 1989, out of 68.85 lakh members of dairy cooperative societies, 14 per cent were women. In Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, milk and dairy women's cooperatives were formed. Some women's cooperative societies were set up in fisheries sector also. Short term training courses for women were organised in fish processing, preservation etc. Nearly 52,000 women are expected to have benefited under the special livestock breeding programme, where a target of 10 per cent was earmarked for women beneficiaries. Krishi Vigyan Kendras and "Lab to Land" programme also benefitted women in agriculture and allied sectors.

15.3.5 The Khadi and Village Industries sector took up measures to improve employmentand earnings of women. The sponsorship of ancillary industries by public sector undertakings in collaboration with State level agencies dealing with development programmes for women, has helped to increase their employment opportunities. A separate entrepreneurs' cell has been set up in the office of the Development Commissioner, Small Scale Industries to provide counselling to women entrepreneurs. Development ofentrepreneurship among women is also being encouraged by Small Industries Development Organisation by organising entrepreneurs' development programmes exclusively for women. Women are given preference in schemes of self-employment among educated unemployed youth introduced in 1983-84. A large number of women are not only rendering assistance in family industrial enterprises or business but are also entering business and industry on their own.

15.3.6 Educational training in selected trades with high employment potential was provided to women in six regional vocational training institutes. A national training Institute for Women was set up at NOIDA. A new scheme was taken up by the Ministry of Labour for providing grant-in-aid to State Goverments setting up women's ITIs/wings. Seats for about 21,500 women were provided under the scheme. Steps have been taken to expand training in new skills in non-traditional areas. The Department of Science and Technology is implementing a programme for providing opportunities for gainful employment to women specially in rural areas to reduce drudgery in their lives and to improve sanitary and environmental conditions.

15.3.7 The number of women employed in the organised sector increased from 13.7 lakhs in 1962 to 35.7 lakhs in 1989. This represented an increase in women's share in employment in the organised sector from 11.3% in 1962 to 13.7% in 1989. However, the percentage of women holding gazetted posts in 1988 was only 4.9 in the Central Government. The percentage of women in 1987 in the Indian Administrative Service was only 7.4, in the Indian Foreign Service 9.9 and in the Indian Economic Service 12.9. The percentages in 1972 were 6.1, 4.9 and 4.9 respectively. »

15.3.8 For educational development of* women, apart from a vigorous drive for universalisation of elementary education, retention of the girl child in school, reduction in drop out, and promotion of adult literacy, a number of special initiatives were taken. The enrolment ratio for girls in the age group 6-11 years rose from 24.61 in 1950-51 to 83.60 in 1989-90. For girls in the age group 11-14 years, the enrolment ratio rose from 4.5 in 1950-51 to 44.58 in 1989-90.

15.3.9 In secondary schools, girls numbered 19.61 lakhs in 1989-90 constituting 31.72 per cent of the total enrolment. In 1950-51, the proportion of girls at this level was only 16.7 per cent.

15.3.10 In the higher educational courses, girls constituted more than 37 per cent of the students enrolled in 1989-90. The number of girls in science courses constituted about 36.5 per cent of all students enrolled in 1989-90. During the same year, 34.48 per cent of the total students enrolled in MBBS were girls. In Engineering and Architecture courses, girls constituted 36.5 per cent. The most popular professional course for girls is teachers training, wherein they constitute nearly 44 per cent of those enrolled.

15.3.11 School text books were reviewed to remove gender bias. School teachers were given re-orientation to present gender equality. The scheme of nonformal education which was introduced in the Sixth Plan for implementation in educationally backward States, was modified during the Seventh Plan to cover urban slums, hilly and tribal areas and working children. About 65,000 centres were set up by the end of 1988-89 benefitting 16 lakhs girls. Special cells were set up in the Directorate of Adult Education and Resource Centres to plan and administer women's education programmes and to encourage their participation. The scheme of Mahila Samakhya was launched in three States to mobilise rural women for education.

15.3.12 The Sports Authority of India conducted National Sports Festival for women. Scholarships under sports talent search scheme were awarded to women.

15.3.13 Women's Development Centres were set up in 22 universities and colleges to brim; about social awareness of women's issues and focus efforts on the development of rural women.

15.3.14 For improving the health and nutrition status of women, maternal and child health services were strengthened. Under the scheme of prophylaxis against nutritional anaemia, pregnant and nursing mothers were given a daily dose of iron and folic acid for 100 days. Camps were organised for women to create health concious-ness among them. Training of untrained dais was continued to ensure safe delivery. As part of ante-natal care, the coverage of women by vaccination against tetanus has improved substantially. The Universal Immunisation Programme, which aims at universal coverage of pregnant women and infants, was extended to all the districts in the country. Special centres were set up to impart nutrition education to mothers through home visits by multipurpose workers. Mass education and media activities were geared up to promote and create awareness against earlv marriage. The message of family planning, the desirability of delayed motherhood, and spacing of births was promoted vigorously.

15.3.15 For tackling the problem of violence against women, including domestic violence, amendments to existing laws were carried out. The cruelty on woman, inflicted by her husband or his relatives was made a legal offence. The legislative provisions relating to rape were amended to accord better protection to women victims. The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 was passed to prevent the pernicious practice of commission of sati and its glorification.

15.3.16 A number of schemes, supplemental to the general development programmes, were implemented by the Department of Women and Child Development. The important role of voluntary organisations in women's development was recognised. Grants were given to them to promote and support women's development and encourage them to participate in problem areas. Under the scheme of condensed courses of education of the Central Social Welfare Board, 1,100 courses were sanctioned in 1990-91 to benefit about 27,500 women. This brought the cumulative total of courses sanctioned since its inception in 1958 to 16,330. To provide safe accommodation at reasonable rents to v»orking women, construction of 597 hostels with'a capacity of 38,127 seats for working women was sanctioned between 1972-73 and March 1991. In 1986-87, a scheme to provide support to training and employment of women (STEP) was launched. Women's Development Corporations were set up in 11 States and one Union Territory to promote economic activities, organise training and generate employment. The Central Social Welfare Board continued the scheme of assisting voluntary organisations to set up production units, thereby providing work and wage to poor women. More than 10,000 such units have been sanctioned between 1958 and March 1991. Programmes for educating women of their rights were organised. To increase women's participation in development and to help them to organise themselves, awareness generation camps were conducted.

Situation Analysis

15.4.1 The efforts made during the various development plans have brought about perceptible improvement in the general socio-economic situation of women. Significant gains in respect of women's health status have been achieved. The expectancy of life at birth for females which was 31.6 years in 1951 was estimated to have risen to 59.1 years in 1986-91. The number of females for every 1,000 males consistently declined from 972 in 1901 to 930 in 1971. However, it increased slightly in 1981 to 934 but has dipped again to 929 in 1991. The infant mortality rate declined from 129 per 1000 live births in 1970 to 91 in 1989. More importantly, the sex differential which was quite high in the seventies has now been bridged. However, the 0-4 age specific mortality rate, which had significantly declined from 53.0 in 1970 to 33.3 in 1988, continues to show higher female mortality. The maternal mortality rate continues to be uncomfortably high. Age specific death rates for 1988 indicate higher death rate for females upto the age of 35 years. This differential is indicative of the continued neglect of the female child's health and nutrition needs, her early marriage, high fertility, poverty and inadequate access to health care.

15.4.2 Though there has been an increase in the age at marriage of girls, the proportion ot married girls in the age group 15-19 is still very high according to the 1981 census. Teenage mothers face higher risks in pregnancy and related health problems compared to those above 20 years of age. The marital fertility rate in the age group 20-29 years is very high, adversely affecting the woman's health and nutrition status. Most pregnant women from the poorer sections of society continue to suffer from anaemia. Underweight, toxaemia, bleeding during pregnancy, puerperal sepsis and under-nourishment are widely prevalent. Birth of low-weight babies and high infant and maternal mortality are consequences of these factors.

15.4.3 In the field of education, the position is still not satisfactory. The 1991 Census data show that for the population aged 7 years and above, the percentage of female literates is only 39.42 compared to 29.75 in 1981. There is also considerable inter-State variation. Kerala, for instance, had a literacy rate of 86.93 per cent in 1991 of females above seven, as compared to 20.84 per cent in Rajasthan, 23.10 per cent in Bihar, 26.02percentinUttarPradeshand28.39 per cent in Madhya Pradesh. While the higher decadal growth rate of female literacy (66 per cent) as compared to male literacy (43 per cent) provides some consolation, the large demographic base has resulted in 197 million illiterate among females in the 7+ age group — an indication of the massive dimension of the problem of female illiteracy. This limits their achievements in the field of employment, training, utilisation of health facilities and exercise of their legal rights and is a cause of their continuing exploitation. Illiteracy among women is also negatively related to fertility rates and infant and child mortality rates.

15.4.4 The unemployment rate for females, according to the criterion of "usual principal status", was 3.52 per cent in rural areas and 8.77 per cent in urban areas in 1987-88 as compared to 1.41 per cent and 6.90 per cent respectively in 1983. The trend of increase in the incidence of open unemployment was stronger in the case of women than of men. Also, the differences between the "usual status" and the "daily status" unemployment rates are much larger in the case of women than of men, implying that under-employment constitutes a much higher proportion of the overall unemployment in the case of women. The estimated backlog of unemployment among women in 1990 by the criterion of "usual status" is 3.96 million. '

15.4.5 The 1991 census reported 91.397 million female workers (excluding Jammu and Kashmir), of whom 66.189 million were reported as main workers and 25.208 million as marginal workers. The percentage of female main workers to total main workers was 23.19 per cent. It was much lower in the urban areas. During the decade 1981-91, female workers in India increased by 42.26 per cent. The female work force participation rate was 22.69 in 1991 as compared to 19.77 in 1981. There is considerable inter-State variation in female work participation rate, Sikkim reporting 52.74 per cent as compared to only 6.78 per cent by Punjab. The work participation rate for females is higher in the rural areas (27.20%) than in the urban areas (9.74%). The distribution of rural female main workers shows that 38.58 per cent were cultivators, 48.83 per cent agricultural labourers and 12.59 per cent other workers.

15.4.6 The 1991 census took special care to ensure that women's participation in work is not left out and women-headed households are not under-enumerated. It is difficult to say to what extent the increase in work force participation rate is a reflection of these endeavours. The contribution of women to the economy continues to remain grossly under-reported due to certain conceptual, methodological and perception problems, reflecting a gender bias since economic value is not assigned to unpaid household work and various kinds of subsistence activities. Home-based production activities and unpaid family work also tend to be grossly under-reported, specially if this is of an intermittent character.

15.4.7 The overwhelming majority of women are engaged in the informal sector, which not only provides low returns but is also characterised by virtual inaccessibility to credit, technology, training and other facilities. Women have still not been recognised as producers in their own right. A large number of women employed as casual labourers in construction and other industries do not get the prescribed minimum wages, nor are the stipulated minimum hours of work adhered to. The traditional economic activities, which provide employment to women, have suffered in competition with the more advanced technologies. Home-based women workers hardly ever get the protective coverage of labour laws. The present crisis of fuel and water has increased further the burden on women. There are about 30 per cent rural households headed by women who bear all the burden of earning and caring for the families and suffer on account of lack of access to means of production and ownership of land and other property.

15.4.8 Despite the constitutional guarantees and specific legislations to protect the interests of women, they continue to suffer because of ignorance of their legal rights, strong social resistance to giving women their due share, lack of legal aid facilities and near-absence of strong women's groups in rural areas which can protect their interests. Socio-cultural traditions continue to assign a subordinate role to women, particularly in rural areas, subjecting the girl child to discrimination of various kinds, including the killing of unborn female foetus after prenatal sex determination tests. The menace of dowry continues unabated, despite the legislation prohibiting dowry and prescribing stringent measures for violating the law. Violence against women, including that in the domestic sphere, continues to brutalise their existence as evident from rape and dowry-related cruelty and murder cases. For instance, out of 9,752 rape cases reported in 1989, the victims were below 10 years of age in 369 cases. There were 4,205 reported cases of dowry related deaths.

Strategy for the Eighth Plan

15.5.1 The strategy in the Eighth Plan will be to ensure that the benefits of development from different sectors do not bypass women and special programmes are implemented to complement the general development programmes. The latter, in turn, should reflect greater gender senstivity. The flow of benefits to women in education, health and employment need to be monitored. Women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in development and not merely as beneficiaries of various schemes. Extending the reach of services to women, both qualitatively and qualitatively, will be an important objective of the Eighth Plan. Socio-cultural and administrative constraints to the realisation of women's full potential need to be removed and there has to be greater societal awareness of their contribution to national well-being. The media, both mass and folk, wHI be assigned an important role. Voluntary agencies will be supported in their advocacy and social activism programmes for gender equality and prevention of atrocities on women. Panchayati Raj institutions will be involved in the designing and implementation of women's programmes.

15.5.2 A more holistic view of women's role in the family and society would be conceived as opposed to the perception of a restricted role of motherhood and home maker. The issues relating to women will be integrated in the total development endeavours. The different Ministries would allocate resources in a manner that the benefits flow to women.

15.5.3 A major thrust in the strategy for women's development will be on the formation and strengthening of grassroot level women's groups, which will articulate local women's needs and play an important role in decentralised planning and implementation of programmes. Services for women under various programmes of employment, education, health care, family welfare, drinking water and nutrition would be made available at the grassroot level in the form of a package through convergence and integration.

15.5.4 Adolescent girls, out of the school system, have been a neglected category in the matter of reach of social services. Their developmental needs will require special attention in order to prepare them for adult roles. Special programmes would be developed for adolescent and young girls as these groups have generally suffered on account of poor nutritko '° k of health care, education and training and restrictive social customs and practices.

15.5.5 The existing legal safeguards for women against injustice and atrocities need to be reviewed, loopholes removed and their implementation monitored. One of the basic requirements for improving the status of women is to bring about changes in the laws relating to inheritance of property to fully protect the interests of women and enable them to get an equal share in the parental property, whether inherited or self-acquired. Social legislations for women will be effectively enforced with the help of women's groups. A National Commission on Women has recently been set up to act as a watch dog body on matters concerning women. A Commissioner of Women's Rights will be appointed.

15.5.6 It is equally important to usher in changes in societal attitudes and perceptions in regard to the role of women in different spheres of life. This will be facilitated by the empowerment of women and will imply adjustments in traditional gender specific performance of tasks. Mass media and inter-personal. communication techniques will be extensively utilised to achieve these ends.


15.5.7 Women, who form nearly half of the population, will be recognised as a target group in the promotion of employment. The employment strategy for women will be integrated with the respective sectoral planning. It will be based on promotion of opportunities for self-employment and creation of wage employment. A better deal for the women work force in the unorganised sector would require encourage-n.ent to the formation of producers' groups and cooperatives. This would help improve their bargaining power and access to inputs. Special, condensed, job-oriented courses will be organised for women. District federations and associations of women's groups will be encouraged to train village women and help them secure technical support, credit and marketing facilities.

15.5.8 Attempts would be made to expand women's employment in the household sector by providing adequate support in the areas of technology upgradation, training, credit, raw materials, and marketing. A decentralised approach for providing these facilities will help considerably in the expansion of women's employment in these sectors.

15.5.9 The existing poverty alleviation programmes like IRDP, TRYSEM and Jawahar Rozgar Yojana would ensure that the target set for women beneficiaries is reached. The scheme of Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) would be strengthened. Greater flexibility will be provided in the areas of training inputs for organisational and managerial skills and support for raw materials, marketing and services from the departments concerned.

15.5.10 The programmes of training woman in soil conservation, dairy development, sociat forestry and other occupations allied to agriculture like sericulture, dairying, horticulture and poultry will be expanded. The existing syllabi will be reviewed to make the training more relevant to the needs of women. Extension services will be modified and strengthened, keeping in mind women's role as producer. Special efforts will be made to cover a larger number of women under extension services. The number of women extension workers will be increased. They would actively assist rural women to take advantage of the schemes and training programmes and help in the formation of cooperatives and Mahila Mandals.

15.5.11 In the programmes of agricultural production, emphasis would have be laid on implementation of land reforms, restructuring of agrarian institutions and promotion of rural industries. In this context, the role of women in agricultural production has to be given due recognition. Women's control over economic resources and services will have to be encouraged as a large number of women are heading rural households. Measures would be necessary to distribute surplus land to women-headed households as well and titles granted to women in the allotment of house sites as also in respect of other productive assets. For married women, joint titles would be desirable for productive assets, houses and house sites.

15.5.12 Vocational training of women will be a special thrust area. The training programmes for women in the ITIs and other training institutions will be diversified and expanded. New areas with a high employment potential will be identified. Part-time and short-term courses will be organised as per the local needs of industries. Women will be encouraged in new expanding areas of technical education such as electronics, computer systems, bio-engineering, communications and media.

15.5.13 Women in rural areas spend a large part of the day in procuring fuel, fodder, food and water for the family. Measures will be taken to reduce the element of drudgery through improved sanitary and environmental conditions, smokeless chullahs, bio-gas plants, solar cookers and other low cost technologies.


15.5.14 Deprived of proper nourishment and health care since childhood, women in our country remain underweight and suffer from nutritional anaemia. Efforts would be made to bring about a change in the discriminatory attitude of the society with regard to the food intake of females within the family and in the traditional beliefs and practices, wherever prevalent, with regard to the nutritional needs of women. It would be necessary to facilitate women's access to, and control over income and use of locally available foods so as to ensure adequate nutrition, particularly iron and iodine intake. Nutrition programmes will lay emphasis on nutrition education, particularly increasing the awareness about the nutritional needs of women especially during infancy, adolescence, pregnancy and breastfeeding of the newborn.

15.5.15 Mass media would play a major role in spreading the messages regarding women's nutrition. Documentary films, video tapes and audio-cassettes will be produced and transmitted through television, radio, cinema and other communication channels. Booklets and pamphlets will be produced on a large scale for the community. Exhibitions on the theme "Women's Nutrition and Health' will be organised in rural, tribal and urban slum areas. Camps and short-term nutrition training programmes will be arranged for women, adolescent girls, women's organisations and school girls by trained ICDS workers, ANMs, teachers, members of mahila mandals and informal channels. For effective implementation of training programmes, educational material will be produced in local languages.

15.5.16 Local women's organisations and adolescent girls would be encouraged to promote participation of women in the monitoring of nutrition care and social support measures for them. Nutrition education programme would be linked with other programmes like family planning, environmental sanitation, potable water supply, ecological balance, horticulture, kitchen garden, education and training for income generation.


15.5.17 Education of women is a critical input for improving nutrition levels, raising the age at marriage, acceptance of family plaftning, improvement in self image, and their empower-, ment. Experience of voluntary organisations* and some of the innovative Government programmes have shown that a group of motivated women can be effective instruments for mobilising the community for women's education. Emphasis will be laid in the Eighth Plan on creation of conditions which would enable women to participate in the educational process in a more meaningful way.

15.5.18 Retention of girls in school upto elementary stage will be pursued as an important objective. Universalisation of education would comprise not merely universal enrolment but also universal participation. Provision of school uniforms and other incentives would improve the enrolment of girls in rural areas, particularly in educationally backward States. Since girls find it difficult to go long distances to attend schools, it is necessary to have schools in the vicinity of the villages. Non-formal centres for girls' education, flexible timings and literacy programmes will involve women's groups. Flexible modules for education and condensed courses would be designed for rural girls and women. Women's access to science education has to be improved and this would require careful planning to generate a pool of trained mathematics and science teachers. Institutional mechanisms will be developed so that the teachers are made to feel responsible to the community. Adult female education will be promoted, a process which will also help in the enrolment and retention of young girls and children in the school system.

15.5.19 Appointment of female teachers would be of great help in improving the attendance of girls in schools. Although the proportion of female teachers, according to the Fifth All India Educational Survey, has reached 30 per cent, their number is still inadequate in rural areas. In order to induct local women as teachers, relaxation in educational qualifications may have to be made in some areas.

15.5.20 At the secondary and higher stages of education, it will be necessary to provide diversified courses in technical fields such as agriculture, health services, food production activities like dairy, food preservation, poultry etc. Correspondence courses and self-study programmes for girls and open school system would be expanded.

Science and Technology

15.5.21 Application of science and technology is vital forthe advancement of women. Technology should reduce household drudgery and provide better working conditions for women, particularly in rural areas. Science and technology should aim at improvement of the environment and quality of life of women at an affordable cost. At present, although women are represented in science and medical courses to an appreciable degree, the number engaged in scientific professions is perceptibly low at the higher levels of research and management. This may be because such professions make a heavy demand on time and energy, which women may find difficult to devote on account of their responsibilities at home. Efforts would be made to encourage part-time employment for women. Relaxations which will permit married women to leave the work force and seek re-entry at a later date would be necessary so that she can fulfil her child caring responsibilities and also her career ambitions.


15.5.22 A number of programmes for self-employment would be supported under social welfare sector. High priority will be given to improve the incomes of women and skill formation. The existing scheme of "Support to Train-ing-cum- Employment Programmes" (STEP) for implementation of projects seeking to provide training and employment to women in agriculture and allied activities will be strengthened. The Central Social Welfare Board's scheme of assisting voluntary organisations to provide work and wages to poor women will be continued. The schema "Employment-cum- Income Generating Training-cum-Production Centres", with the assistance of NORAD, will be consolidated. The activities of women development corporations as guarantors and promoters of credit to poor women or groups of women will continue. The corporations will also provide marketing and managerial facilities to participating women. To meet the credit needs of women producers, special institutional arrangements will be made by streamlining the existing lending procedures of banks' and cooperative societies, removing bottlenecks for women borrowers and setting up a national credit fund for women.

15.5.23 Condensed courses of education and vocational training will be strengthened to benefit women and girls in rural and backward areas in a large way. Hostel facilities for working women with creche facilities will be increased for women migrating to towns, cities and metropolitan areas for employment. Relaxations will be made in the income ceiling and duration of stay of working women in hostels.

15.5.24 Priority will be given to generation of awareness about the need for improving women's status. Mass communication and folk media will be effectively geared to this end. Programmes will be produced highlighting women's issues. The positive role models of women as cultivators, enterpreneurs and managers will be projected. Women's colleges and universities and women's study centres will be encouraged to take up awareness generation activities through publication of women's journals and research on women's issues.

15.5.25 Programmes will be designed for destitute women and women in distress by providing the necessary rehabilitation measures to make them economically self-sufficient. Special projects will be developed for economic rehabilitation of socially disadvantaged groups of women like devadasis and prostitutes.

15.5.26 Awareness and knowledge about the legal provisions and infrastructure for availing these are extremely important. Programmes for generation of legal awareness would, therefore, be initiated. Legal aid will be extended. In order to ensure effective implementaion of legal provisions, orientation and training of personnel will be given due importance.

15.5.27 Voluntary organisations will be promoted and supported to accelerate the process of women's development. Areas will he identified where the voluntary sector is weak. Efforts will be made to promote and stimulate agencies to work in such areas. Grants-in-aid procedures will be streamlined to reduce delays in releasing grants. Voluntary organisations will be involved in the designing of programmes as well as their implementation. Policy research and evaluation will be supported and the findings widely disseminated so that the improvements needed in policies and programmes can be more clearly articulated.


15.6.1 Children constitute the nation's future human resource. Investment in child development is thus an investment in the country's future and in improving the nation's quality of life. The early years are a very delicate period and require well-designed programmes for the child's survival, growth and development. Deficiencies during this stage can lead to permanent retardation in physical and mental growth. The fact that children have neither a voice nor a political constituency assigns a greater resonsibility to adults to plan for child development.

15.6.2 The Indian Constitution contains several provisions for protection, development and welfare of children. Article 24 prohibits the employment of children in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous occupation. Articles 39(e) and (f) lay down that the State shall direct its policy in such a manner that the tender age of children is not abused, children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and childhood is protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

15.6.3 The population of children below 15 years as per the 1981 census was 263 million with 75 per cent living in rural areas. The Expert Committee on Population Projections (1989) projected 301 million persons of less than 15 years in 1990 (36.40 per cent of the population) of which 22.5 million (2.72 per cent) are less than 1 year (infants), 44.2 million (5.34 per cent) are in the age group 1-2 years (toddlers) and 63.7 million (7.70 per cent) are in the age group 3-5 years (pre-school). These numbers, when seen in the context of about 30 per cent of population below the poverty line as per 1987-88 estimates, give an indication of the magnitude of the tasks that lie ahead.

15.6.4 The earlier plans perceived child development mainly in the frame of child welfare. The First Plan laid the major responsibility of developing child care services on voluntary organisations. The Central Social Welfare Board established in 1953 was assigned a leading role in promoting and assisting the voluntary effort. In the Second, Third and Fourth Plans, child welfare services were added in different sectors of the Plan. The Fifth Plan ushered in a new-era with a shift in focus from child welfare to child development and emphasis on integration and coordination of services. The National Policy on Children adopted in 1974 provided a framework for the development of services to chidren. The programme of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) with a package of services comprising immunisation, health check-up, referral, supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, and nutrition and health education, was launched in 1975 in 33 blocks in the country on an experimental basis. A school health programme was also started. Maternal and child health services in rural areas were strengthened. The national programme of minimum needs included some services which directly benefited children.

15.6.5 The Sixth Plan saw consolidation and expansion of the programmes started earlier. It also witnessed expansion of the programme of ICDS, with the sanction of 1037 projects. Implementation of the programme of universalisa-tion of elementary education was accelerated. Non-formal education programmes were promoted. Vocationalisation of education was given priority. Pre-school education centres were supported in the educationally backward States through grants to voluntary organisations. The national policy statement on health adopted in 1983 set the goals and the targets for health by the year 2000 AD.

Review of Seventh Plan and Annual Plans 1990-92

15.7.1 The Seventh Plan continued the strategy of promoting early childhood survival and development through programmes in different sectors, important among these being ICDS, universal immunisation, maternal and child care services, nutrition, pre-school education, protected drinking water, environmental sanitation and hygiene, and family planning.

15.7.2 The ICDS continued to be the main integrated national programme for early childhood survival and development. In 1991, the number of sanctioned ICDS projects was 2,594, of which 1,656 were in rural areas, 711 in tribal areas and 227 in urban slums. By the end of December, 1991, about 129 lakh children below 6 years of age and more than 27 lakh pregnant and nursing mothers were getting supplementary nutrition under ICDS. About 67 lakh children of 3-5 age group were getting pre-school education services. The feedback on the impact of ICDS reported a faster decline in the incidence of infant and early childhood mortality in ICDS project areas. There was also better utilisation of vitamin 'A', iron-folic acid, and immunisation services in the ICDS projects compared to non-ICDS areas. Programme implementation in several States, however, suffered from a number of deficiencies including inadequacy in the cold chain for vaccines, irregular supply of nutrition supplements, inappropriate food, low coverage of "under-three-year olds", and weak coordination between the health and welfare departments at the field level. Nutrition and health education of mothers and community participation were also weak.

15.7.3 Under the maternal and child health services of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the universal immunisation programme to protect children from six major diseases which affect early childhood mortality and morbidity, viz., diptheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, measles and childhood tuberculosis was strengthened and expanded to provide universal coverage. In 1989-90, more than 82 per cent coverage was reported for DPT, OPV, BCG, and about 70 per cent for measles and TT (PW). Surveillance systems to monitor the incidence of these diseases were set up which reported a decline in the incidence of reported cases of these diseases. Prophylaxis programme against nutritional anaemia of mothers and children through a daily dose of iron and folic acid for a period of 100 days was expanded. A prophylaxis programme against blindness due to vitamin A deficiency was also implemented. Pre-school and school feeding programmes were continued in the States, with priority accorded to children below 6 years. To prevent and control diarrhoea and diarrhoea- related diseases which account for about 1.5 million deaths every year, the oral rehydration therapy was launched, which now covers all the districts. During 1990, an acute respiratory infection control programme was started in 15 districts. The primary health care set-up of rural areas was strengthened. In urban slums, the urban basic services programme included services for children and mothers. The programme of health posts for meeting maternal and child health needs in urban slums was strengthened. A massive programme for providing safe drinking water facilities irt the rural areas launched in the Sixth Plan was accelerated in the Seventh Plan.

15.7.4 Since the age of the mother at the time of birth of her child, her health and nutrition status and birth order are important factors which affect child survival and development, the strategy for raising the age at marriage of girls, adoption of the two-child norm and spacing of births was vigorously promoted in the Seventh Plan to project family planning basically as a programme for the well being of the mother and her child. In March 1990, an overall couple protection rate of 43.3 per cent was reached. There was also a modest decline in the age of acceptors of various birth control devices.

15.7.5 For pre-school educational development, in addition to ICDS, 4,365 early childhood education centres were assisted through grants-in-aid to voluntary organisations. The National Policy on Education (1986) emphasised universal enrolment and universal retention of the child at the elementary school stage and a substantial improvement in the quality of education. In 1988-89, about 127 million children were enrolled in classes I to VIII. Of these, 96 million were in classes I to V and 31 million in classes VI to VIII. The enrolment ratio in 1988-89 was 99.6 per cent in classes I to V (age group 6-11 years) and 56.9 per cent in classes VI to VIII (age group 11-14 years). The scheme of non-formal education, introduced in the Sixth Plan as an alternative stream to impart education to children who for various reasons could not attend formal schools, was continued.

15.7.6 Creche services to children of poor working women in the unorganised sector were substantially expanded. By the end of 1990-91, there were about 12,500 creches. Training of creche workers was also organised. However, the creche facilities fell far short of the requirements.

15.7.7 The Government of India enacted the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986. In 1987, the National Policy on Child Labour was formulated. Projects were sanctioned to voluntary organisations for the welfare of working children to provide non-formal edu-ation, supplementary nutrition, health care and skill training.

15.7.8 For children in need of care and protection, grants were given to voluntary organisations through the State Governments. By the end of the Seventh Plan, 47,600 children were benefited. The programme, however, was heavily weighed in favour of institutional serv-ices. Adoption services were promoted and a concerted effort made to promote in-country adoption.

15.7.9 The Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) was enacted in 1986, repealing the then existing Children Act, to deal effectively with the prob lem of neglected or juvenile delinquents anil provide for a standardised framework for the handling of such children. To provide financial support to State Governments for establishing the institutional infrastructure and to stand»rdisŁ the minimum services as envisaged under the Act, a scheme of prevention and ccatroi of social maladjustment was started in 1986-87. However, many States and Union Territories are yet to set up suitable administrative machinery with appropriate professional expertise to impiemeni the provisions of the Act.

Status of Children

15.7.10 The measures undertaken in the earlier Plans have undoubtedly improved the situation of children. The infant mortality rate (IMR) declined from 129 per 1000 live births in 1971 to 91 in 1989. There are, however, considerable inter-State variations in IMR, the highest being 123 in Orissa and the lowest 17 in Kerala. IMR is also high in Madhya Pradesh (111) and Uttar Pradesh (98). The rural-urban differential in IMR continues to be very high. It was 58 in urban areas as compared to 98 in rurai areas in 1989. Although the age specific death rate of children 0-4 years declined from 53.0 in 1970 to 33.3 in 1988, the inter State variation continued to be large, the lowest being 7.7 in Kerala and the highest 51.0 in Madhya Pradesh. The rural-urban differential is also high — 35.7 in rural areas and 18.7 in urban areas. Deaths among children 0-4 years accounted for two-fifths of the total number of deaths in 1989. The common causes of high death rate among preschool children are diarrhoea! diseases, respiratory infection, communicable diseases, and causes peculiar to infancy.

15.7.11 Malnutrition among children is an important cause of high mortality and morbidity. Its incidence is quite high among the disad vantaged segments of the population. Itjs, by and large, the result of insufficient calorie in-

take; unbalanced diets lacking in adequate quantities of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients;susceptibility to diseases due to poor environmental sanitation and hygiene and consumption of polluted water. The poor nutrition status during pregnancy and ignorance of health ad nutrition needs are also contributory factors.

15.7.12 While there have been gains in'the education of children, particularly of girls, the age specific literacy rate available tor 1981 indicates that only 34.7 per cent boys and 25.6 per cent girls in the age group of 5-9 years were literate. In the age group 10-14 years, the literacy rates were 66.7 per cent for boys and 44.8 per cent for girls. There were also considerable inter-State and rural urban variations. The age specific literacy rates for 1991 are not yet available but given the difference of only 9.7 per cent in the female literacy rate for the age group of 7+ between 1981 and 1991, the slow pace educational development is a cause for concern, specially if one sees the large inter-State variation in the age specific literacy rates and the situation in the educationally backward States. The drop-out rates, particularly for girls, continues to be high. For instance, in 1986-87, the drop out rate in the case of girls was 51.2 at classes I-V stage and 70.2 in classes I to VIII.

15.7.13 The problem of child labour still persi'sts particularly in the unorganised sectors of industry. The 1981 censusreported about 13.6 million child workers, who constituted 1.96 per cent of the total population, 5.57 per cent of the total work force and 5.17 per cent of total child population. The main factors for the prevalence of child workers are poverty, dropping out from school and the interest of employers in getting docile workers at a cheap rate. Putting children to work deprives them of the opportunities of education and training. In certain industries, children are subjected to long hours, poor working conditions, low wages, insecurity of employment and occupational hazards which affect them rather adversely.

15.7.14 The decline in social obligations by extended family members towards children who become orphaned, the breakdown offamiles and the absence of support to single-parent woman-headed households has increased the problem of child neglect and child abuse. Although there is no reliable data about the magnitude of the problem, its increasing visibility, specially in urban areas in the form of street children, beggary and vagrancy, is a pointer. Problems of delinquency are also on the rise. In 1989, the number of juvenile crimes under IPC was 18,457, representing 1.2 per cent of all crimes. The number of cases under local and specific laws was 18,537. Drug abuse is a new problem which is becoming a growing menace affecting children from all segments of society.

Strategy for Eighth Plan

15.8.1 Since human development will be the main focus of the Eighth Plan, policies and programmes relating to child survival and development will receive high priority. While it is true that successful implementation of programmes of poverty alleviation, reforms in existing social and economic structures, institutional changes and female education will help in raising the standard of living of the under-privileged segments of society and have a favourable impact on child survival and development, specific programmes and services directed at children will also be necessary.

15.8.2 The World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in 1990 indicated the challenges and the tasks and stressed the need for political action at the highest level for the well-being of children. A Plan of Action intended as a guide to Governments has also been prepared for implementing the Declaration in the 1990s. Major goals and targets for child survival, their protection and development in the 1990s have been set out. It would he necessary to undertake national and disaggregated State level exercises both for rural and urban areas in the light of these goals and targets, the national policy statements on health (1983), education (1986) and child labour (1987), and the Directive Principles of State Policy. A multi-tier system for monitoring progress will also need to be developed.

15.8.3 Child development programmes in the Eighth Plan will give high priority to preventive services, which are family and community based to be able to combat effectively high 'mfant and early childhood mortality and morbidity. Special attention will he paid to those States where childhood morbidity and mortality are high. Children belonging to the poor and the under-privileged sections of population will be covered by basic mimumum child development services. Emphasis will be placed on integration and convergence of services. Better coordination among health, family planning, education, social welfare, nutrition, water supply and sanitation programmes will be effected at all levels. The basic strategy for organising services for children will be to design area and beneficiary-specific schemes, utilising local resources and institutions.The efficiency and cost effectiveness of different services will be closely monitored. The capabilities of the families, specially of mothers, to look after the basic health, nutritional and emotional needs of children in the age-group 0-6, will be enhanced through non-formal modes of learning. Social discrimination against the girl child will be effectively countered, through a massive campaign, to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities for their growth and development.


15.8.4 The national programme of ICDS will continue to be the basic strategy for child survival and early childhood development with special focus on areas predominantly inhabited by the tribal people, scheduled castes, drought-prone regions and urban slums. In the location of new projects, preference will be given to areas having high levels of infant mortality and morbidity. The quality of services will be improved by removing the existing constraints in immunisation, delivery of supplementary nutrition and pre-school education inputs. Nutrition and health education of mothers and community participation in running the anganwadi, which were hitherto neglected, will receive special attention. The quality of pre-school education services will be improved. The ICDS infrastructure at the village and supervisory level would be used for early detection and identification of physical handicaps in children under 6 years of age and for support to the family welfare programme. The programme will he backed by convergence of environmental sanitation and hygiene and safe drinking water supply. The training of ICDS functionaries will be augmented. A system for decentralised monitoring and qualitative feedback will be developed for ICDS. Paper work by anganwadi worker (AWW) will be reduced to the minimum. The AWW and the Child Development Project Officer (CL.PO) will be trained to use the dalJ generated from the records kept by the anganwadi worker to monitor both inputs and outputs.

15.8.5 The universal programme of immunisation will be expanded and strengthened fui -ther to increase the effective levels of coverage. Bottlenecks in the supply line of vaccines an«J also the time-gap in the posting of personnel wiii be reduced. Greater awareness will be created about the need and importance of immunisation through mass media and non-formal channels. A child survival and safe motherhood project will be implemented to provide an integrated package of services in six States with high birth and mortality rates. The Maternity and Child Health Programme (MCH) will be considerably strengthened with special attention on immunisation of pregnant women and of infants and the control of communicable diseases. Other measures to be promoted are: greater access for mothers to pre-natal care; training of midwives so that a larger percentage of births are assisted by trained attendants; and creation of awareness in families of the special health and nutrition needs of pregnant women. Programmes for the control of diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections will be strengthened. The merits of breast feeding and low cost weaning foods will be communicated in a big way through mass, folk and non-formal media.

15.8.6 The accelerated implementation of the family planning programme by affording choice to woman in the planning of births will be an effective and inexpensive way of ensuring better chances of survival of the child, by reducing the incidence of high risk babies. The coverage of problem villages and urban slums with protected water supply will ensure accessibility and use of safe drinking water, thereby reducing the incidence of water borne diseases. The environmental sanitation and hygiene programme and the urban basic services programme will help bring down the incidence of early childhood morbidity and mortality.

15.8.7 Early childhood education programmes will be strengthened. Emphasis will be laid on improving retention of children in schools at the elementary stage so that the goal of universalisation of elementary education by 1995 can be achieved. The elementary schjpol , system will be improved both in terms of phyical facilities and quality of learning. The programme of non-formal education for children will be strengthened.

15.8.8 Creche and day-care facilities will be expanded with the help of voluntary organisations to cover more children of the poor working women. In the organised sector, where creche/day care facilities are to be provided statutorily, it will be ensured that the employers implement the provisions pertaining to setting up of creches with the required basic minimum services. Training of creche workers will he organised.

15.8.9 Programmes will be developed with the assistance of voluntary organisations to suit the specific needs of children in need of care and protection with focus on family and community based services. In many cases, convergence of services and programmes which help the families to improve their incomes and the quality of their lives will be necessary. The standards of services of children's homes will be improved and a constructive intake and discharge policy formulated. Half-way homes to cover the transitional period of rehabilitation will be set up with the assistance of voluntary organisations. Programmes will also be developed for street children.

15.8.10 The problem of child abuse and its manifestations will he studied in depth and its causes analysed so that effective measures can be taken. The burgeoning problem of abandonment and destitution, especially in big cities will receive attention. Suitable preventive and reha-bilitative activities will be taken up for such children with special stress on the provision of non-institutional services like adoption and sponsorship. For children without homes, special programmes will be developed. Institutional care will be provided selectively. Training programmes will he organized to improve the quality of services.

15.8.11 Concerted efforts will be made to tackle the problems of social deviance, juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime through preventive, correctional and rehahilitative services. Greater attention will be paid to the promotion of non-institutional community-based services. The infrastructure for implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 will he set up in all the States to provide care, protection, development and rehabilitation to neglected and delinquent children. Existing facilities and standards of services in the institutions will be improved. Diversified vocational training programmes will be developed and linked with the existing vocational training institutions.

15.8.12 The problem of child labour is an unfortunate manifestation of economic compulsions as well as socio- cultural perceptions. While at the present stage of development it will not be possible to eliminate it altogether, programmes to combat the problem will be strengthened. Compulsory schooling and strong regulatory and administrative measures to prevent exploitation of child labour will be necessary. In areas where child labour exists on a large scale, efforts will be made to organise suitable literacy and vocational training for them after school hours. The enforcement of Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 will be strengthened. More industries would be identified in which child labour is to be prohibited. In pursuance of the National Policy on Child Labour, specific projects will be undertaken in industries where the incidence of child labour is very high. Measures will he taken to cover families of child labourers under income generation schemes. Imparting of formal and non-formal education and setting up of special schools will be considered. Public opinion on the evils of child labour will be mobilised through investigative journalism, the use of electronic media and the support of activist groups.

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