Government on Tuesday said it has ventured to ensure equality for women by getting the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha and making its personnel policies more "gender sensitive".
Political empowerment of women is a powerful and indispensable tool for eliminating gender inequality and discrimination, the UPA-II's "Report to the People" released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here said.
With a view to achieving the said purpose, the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008 providing for reservation for women in one-third of the total seats of Lok Sabha and of the state legislative assemblies, including the assembly of the NCT of Delhi, for a period of 15 years was introduced in Rajya Sabha on May 6, 2008, it said. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on March 9. It said a bill has also been introduced in the Lok Sabha for providing 50 per cent reservation to women in urban local bodies.
The report said that the UPA government has set up the National Mission for Empowerment of Women in March this year to secure inter-sectoral convergence of all pro-women or women centric programmes cutting across ministries and departments, states and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). The activities of the mission will be overseen by the National Mission Authority headed by the Prime Minister.
The government has decided to enhance the corpus of the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh to Rs 500 crore from the existing Rs 100 crore. The Government, the document said, is committed to provide equal opportunities to women in employment and to make its personnel policies more "gender sensitive".
Instructions have been issued to all ministries and departments that all recruitment advertisements will contain a message that government strives to promote a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply, it said.
Women candidates have been exempted from payment of fees for competitive examinations conducted by the UPSC/SSC in direct recruitment departmental competitive examinations. The fair sex would also be provided with 'child care leave' for upto two years, on full pay, to enable them to take care of their children upto the age of 18 years.
With a view to bringing in gender equality in personal laws, the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 22 providing for amendment to the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and the Hindu Adoption And Maintenance Act, 1956, it said.
As far as children's well being was concerned, the report said that the Government has begun an additional 792 projects and 2,91,000 anganwadi centres (AWCs), including mini-anganwadis and 20,000 anganwadis on demand have been approved to ensure that there is an operational anganwadi in every habitation of the country. The government has also doubled the nutritional and feeding norms. Children in the age group 3-6 years will now be given a morning snack and a hot cooked meal. PTI