To ensure safety of women in the state, State Social Justice and Empowerment Department mulling to initiate many corrective measures in the state. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dhani Ram Shandil, in a press conference at Shimla, said that department will also collaborate with the police and other departments to make corrective measures more effective. Minister also announced to start a toll-free, women helpline, which they can call in times of trouble.
He said steps like training girls in self-defence techniques like martial arts and making the National Cadet Corps (NCC) course mandatory at the school-level were also be pursued.
Minister said that the government had decided to raise the monthly social security pension from Rs 450 to Rs 500 per month from April 1 that would benefit 2,82,552 pensioners and entail an additional annual expenditure of about Rs 14 crore. Beneficiaries above 80 years of age would be paid Rs 800 per month.
Shandil sees a need to expand the ambit of the State Women Commission that had largely confined itself to the domestic violence issue. He said that it required being strengthened and more effective so that it could also address issues like declining female sex ratio and crime against women.
Minister also shown commitment to bring down the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality, he said that the network of anganwaris had a major role to play and he will ensure to expand it further. He said that the government had increased the quantum of funds provided for the construction of anganwari centres from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh and these could also be built under the MNREGA scheme. At present, only 900 centres had their own buildings and most of these were running in spare rooms of primary schools or panchayat bhawans. The state had over 18,500 anganwari centres and the number was likely to reach 20,000.