Believing, that the lasting change in the society can only be achieved when women have access to knowledge, resources and power, the present State Government’s claimed its foremost concern was to empower women and many innovative steps are being taken to strengthen them in every sphere of life so that the women can be legitimately positioned equally in society as their male counterparts.
The State Government’s focus was on empowerment and knowledge management with more leadership opportunities for women with inter-generational approach built on positive cultural values and traditions.
The State Government has taken a decision to set up a high powered ‘Mahila Kalyan Board’ in the state for reviewing policies and issues related to socio-economic development, health, employment, dignity, security and empowerment of women. A State level Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary has been constituted to regularly review all cases of atrocities against women and ensure quick action by concerned authorities. Similar committees have also been set up at district levels under the chairmanship of concerned Deputy Commissioners.
To secure Gender Equality for decision making in allocation of public resources and budget distribution, all departments have been asked to ensure that at least 30 percent of the funds should be marked for women related sectors.
State Government has also decided to recruit at least 20 percent women in State Police force at Constable and Sub Inspector level so as to make the force women friendly and develop a sense of security in women while narrating their woes without hitch. As many as 200 women constables are being recruited shortly. At present women constitute nearly 10 percent of police force. To make women folk more secure, decision has been taken to install CCTV cameras in Shimla city and at other important tourist destinations. Himachal Pradesh would be the first state of the country to install CCTV cameras for security of women which will definitely tighten the clutches on antisocial elements and will also help in strengthening Law and Order situation in the state.
Women Rapid Police Force has been constituted to keep a tab on criminals and crime against women and in the first phase the Women Police Riders have been deployed in Shimla so as to reach the spot instantly where crime is being committed. These riders would be deployed in all the districts of the state in a phased manner.
State Government endeavours to provide best of health facilities to the women and under Janani Suraksha Yojna, all women aged 19 years or above and belonging to BPL, SC and ST families are being given cash incentives for deliveries in government health institutions or in accredited private health institutions. They are being provided Rs 600 in urban areas and Rs. 700 in rural areas. All expectant women of BPL families are also provided Rs. 500 for home deliveries. It has been also decided to purchase 125 more small ambulances to facilitate expectant mothers to reach hospitals and back after delivery. This would help in providing a dedicated fleet of ambulances for the purpose.
About 7750 ASHA workers under the National Rural Health Mission in the Health and Family Welfare Department would be selected and will be provided monthly honorarium of Rs. 850.
Himachal Pradesh government also claiming to make efforts to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in all the government schools. These toilets will be constructed by using Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) funds and gap in the funding will be borne by state government.
Under Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojna, an incentive of Rs. 25,000 is being provided to those parents who adopts terminal family planning after the birth of first girl child and who adopt these methods after second girl child, are being provided Rs 20,000 as incentive.
State Government has also enhanced assistance under various schemes from this financial year. Assistance under ‘Mukhya Mantri Kanya Daan Yojna’ has been enhanced to Rs. 25,000 w.e.f 1st April, 2013. The income limit under the scheme has been enhanced to Rs. 20,000 per annum. Rs. 286 lacs would be spend in the scheme in this financial year.
Financial Assistance under Widow Re-Marriage scheme and Inter Cast Marriage schemes have been enhanced to Rs. 50,000 from Rs. 25,000. State Government will also honour five women every year in Education, Health, Empowerment, Sports, Culture and Social Service sectors with ‘Himachal Mahila Puraskar’ so as to encourage more and more women to give their best in these fields.
State Government claiming of making sincere efforts to ensure socio-economic empowerment especially of marginalized women and implementation of laws enacted for elimination of discrimination against women so that the goal of women empowerment is achieved at the earliest by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information and technology.