On August 24th, 2016, the Hon Minster WCD Smt Maneka Gandhi addressed a gathering of 350 women, students, girls and boy, at All India Women’s Conference who had determined to take a Pledge to Protect and Honour the Girl Child in light of the many atrocities of rape and violence against minor girls that have recently come to light, be it Rohtak or Bulandshar. Other invitees included Meenakshi Lekhi, MP New Delhi, Professors from Delhi University, Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women, Sudarshan Pathak, heads of various NGO’s like AIEFWA, YWCA, AIDWA, Joint Women’s Program, CWDS, Municipal Councillor, Abhishek Dutt etc. The Program “ WINGS TO FLY” is being launched in all its 500 branches across India, said Smt. Veena Kohli, President of AIWC. Smt. Bulbul Das (MIC) gave details of the findings of the Survey Report and also outlined the status of the Girl Child.
The Minister highlighted the PM’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme, launched in 61 districts and localities. The Minister also detailed the other initiatives taken by her Ministry particularly a special app to be created whereby children being molested in schools can press a single button to summon help.
She detailed a new scheme for building more shelter home--one-stop centres—for distressed women, to be located within 10km of each village block. The Ministry is also developing a mobile app for summoning police help, and putting up notices in trains to inform trafficked women and children where to seek help. She said it is proposed to ensure that there is 33% reservation for women in the police force. That women volunteers will be located in every village to support assist (and /or help to locate abducted) women & children.
Many laws are being introduced to benefit women and children including extending maternity leave, ending trafficking of women and children, on control of surrogacy, a mission to strengthen maternal nutrition and Khoya paya- to locate missing women and children too is being launched.
The minister exhorted responsible women’s organization like AIWC to assist in the promotion of measures being introduced for the safety & benefit of women. No doubt Civil Society all over India especially Women’s Organizations will need to create an enhanced participatory networking for such a climate to succeed.