Since the first scheme for women empowerment i.e. Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) in 1982-83 India has come a long way laying a pathway of schemes to walk for the women of our nation. Women and child empowerment has always been through schemes, which describe a definitive road to be taken. These schemes do support to walk but hardly support to run. Can only the development schemes can change the face of women and child empowerment?

If we look at the list of schemes which has been made by the Govt. Of India and the State Governments, we will have a healthy book to read but is it worth enough to support and bring the change for which it has been made?

Starting from the passing of a bill to its implementation, which favours women & child development it takes time and even if after years of its implementation the task remains unfinished as the full utilization or the soul purpose of the bill is not achieved.

Looking at some of the statistics of one of the schemes initiated by the Govt. Of India regarding the Child Sex Ratio, which states that the rate declined from 927 to 919 in 2011 census. Government initiated a programme which focused on the motive to increase the ratio i.e “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” whose soul purpose is to save girl child from the social discrimination manifested through gender biased sex selection and post discrimination against girls.

Even though we have such schemes which have proper objectives with strict rules and regulations directed by the government itself, still there is a fall in the sex ratio it is because the mindset hasn’t been changed. We still live in a patriarchal society where families want a boy as their next heir to take over their family.

Stepping out of the childhood schemes, when we step foot in the adult one’s, there’s more bigger problems which define themselves as visible cracks in the ongoing programmes for violence against women and children.

Scrolling down the graphs of violence against women, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 24,923 cases of rape in 2012 in the annual report of 2013 which showed 27.1% rise spike leaving behind the unreported cases. A sample survey was conducted to administer the number cases in the minor category it showed astonishing 7200 cases each year by the Human Rights Watch.

After the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya case, new laws were made and the old one’s were modified accordingly; fast-track courts were created to make the trial for violence against women faster. That case really changed the face of Indian Penal Code, but still justice arrived almost after 8 years which raises lots of questions about the accountability of the courts.

Now as we move down in the sequence when we look across the graphs of child labour, there has been an unfortunate spike in it and according to the survey conducted by UNICEF it shows that the spike is about 54% which is quiet big to bring it down.

Talking of schemes, we have a National Child Labour Policy which was initiated in 1987 to bring down the graph as low as possible but we suppose that the work has gone in total reverse.

These reports and schemes are now present like for years but the impact is still quite negligible to the naked eye. It is not that there is any flaw in the programmes and the schemes launched by the Govt., the fact of the matter is inside our mindset.

Schemes and programmes initiated by the Govt. do help us in giving a supporting hand to start what is known as to walk but running is what we have to do it ourselves.

In the case of the Child Sex Ratio, it is all about the mid set that a girl child is a liability to the family and a boy child is not. If the thought process is changed the matter is solved right from the beginning of the problem. For that to happen awareness programmes need to be conducted which showcase the importance of women and girl child in the society to caste the shadow of patriarchy behind the lane.

Now coming to violence against women, when we read a case of rape and murder and other violence against women and children in the newspaper we usually speak against the convicts and then turn the page off but instead of that if we turn our minds to give to give our siblings the teachings of respect for women then the case is closed right in the newspaper itself; for that the environment needs to change.

Lastly, the aspect of child labour is the by-product of illiteracy and poverty and if quality education is provided to all children regardless of their situation and condition the graph won’t take time to tumble.

The solution to the empowerment of women and children does lie with the programmes and schemes initiated by the Govt. but they only work when they are worked out with the right mindset. A mindset of change can only bring the change.

S.N.Surajbhan is a columnist and author of numerous books who also writes is national and local vernaculars. He can be mailed at sn.surajbhan@gmail.com


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