Empowered Women, Empowered Country
The basic principles of Women’s Empowerment are that women should enjoy social and political rights, financial security, judicial strength and all other rights at par with men. There should be no bias based on gender. While traditional norms and mores are changing rapidly, women still need to be made aware of their basic and social rights. Empowered women means women who can make their own decisions for their individual benefits as well as for the society. The essence of women empowerment is substituting patriarchy with parity.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Central Government has given special attention to women development. The women of India play a significant role in the nation’s progress and the Government recognizes their contributions and potential. The government has taken a number of steps to strengthen the cause of women’s empowerment. From Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to improved health and education facilities and a range of initiatives to improve both their daily lives and their long-term prospects, the government’s actions have touched a chord with the nation’s women.
Even prior to his taking over as the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi empathized with women who cooked for their families in unsafe and unhealthy environments. To free them from the hazardous effects of kitchen smoke from wood-fired stoves, the Ujjwala Yojana was launched. The scheme gave women a cleaner and healthier environment for cooking enabling below poverty line (BPL) families to lead a better life.
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has not only brought about a transformational shift in gender equality, but has also strengthened the trust between the public and the Government. The results of the scheme are strikingly visible in Haryana where the sex ratio has improved to 950 females for every 1000 males. Through this scheme, the government aims to bring awareness in society about women security and education. The scheme also makes efforts to eradicate centuries old perceptions and practices, which were a deterrent to women development.
Under Stand-up India, women entrepreneurs were sanctioned loans starting from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 1 crore. Out of nearly 375 business ventures in the Kaushal Vikas Yojana, nearly half were by women. Schemes launched by the Government have not only strengthened women financially but have also taken care of their health and wellbeing. The Narendra Modi-led government also passed the Maternity Bill under which pregnant women are offered more credible maternity leave and financial aid.
MUDRA is a new institution set up by Government of India to provide funding to non-corporate, non-farm sector income generating activities of micro and small enterprises whose loan requirements are below Rs 10 Lakh. The government has made efforts to encourage women entrepreneurs in business. The results of these efforts can be seen in MUDRA yojana where entrepreneurs can get loans at low interest rates.
The Mahila E-Haat is a unique online platform where women can display their products, which has strengthened the inclusion of women in the society. Mahila E-Haat is the first of a three-stage series to empower women. In the second stage, it integrates with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for trade and commerce. Eventually, it will culminate into a Women’s Entrepreneurs Council, which will help to broaden and institutionalize this enterprise.
The Sukanya Samridhi Yojana was launched as an endeavor by the Government to create a positive mindset in society, for the security and future of the girl child. The Nai Roshni scheme has been designed to develop leadership capacity among the minority women so that they can move forward in the field of entrepreneurship. The scheme is aligned with the Government’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.
Women have also made significant inroads in the non-traditional fields and occupations. For the first time, 3 women fighter pilots were commissioned into the Indian Air Force. There is a wave of transformation and progress in the country and women are moving beyond gender bias and inequality to be a part of this change.
Delivering multiple roles effortlessly every day, women are unquestionably the backbone of any society. Affectionate daughters, loving mothers, competent colleagues and a wide range of many other roles are played by women around us flawlessly and with grace. For the development and progress of the nation, the support and participation of women is crucial and necessary. To ensure and encourage this participation, the Government is taking steps that tie into each other seamlessly, from improving the home and hearth, to education, financial support and entrepreneurship training, helping them to demonstrate and apply their skills and talents, and working shoulder to shoulder to build a New India.