The Ministry of Women and Child Development works for general welfare of women, children below six years of age, their mothers, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls. The ministry runs programmes for nutrition, immunisation, and healthcare, implemented through local Anganwadi centres. It also promotes implementation of laws including, Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
National Commission for Women (NCW)
NCW is a statutory body, established in 1990. It advises the government on all policy matters affecting women, and facilitates redressal of grievances submitted by women. It has powers equivalent to that of a civil court, thus it can summon and enforce attendance of any person, require discovery and production of any document from any organisation for questioning and investigation into a matter.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
NCPCR is a statutory body established in 2005, to promote and protect the child rights. A child is defined as a person below 18 years of biological age. The NCPCR reviews the laws and administrative mechanisms that affect children. It also inspects juvenile custodial homes set up by any authority across India. It has powers of a civil court, and can summon persons and cause to be laid before it, documents relevant to an investigation.
Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) is a statutory body, and the nodal agency for regulation of adoption in India. It primarily deals with orphan and abandoned children through its network of adoption agencies. It also monitors and regulates inter-country adoptions in accordance with the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption 1993, ratified by the Government of India.
Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) works to promote voluntary and non-government agencies working for general welfare of family, women and children. Under its guidance, State Social Welfare Boards are set up in all states to promote social welfare agencies, especially in uncovered areas. The Family Counselling Centres of CSWB provide counselling and rehabilitative services to women and children who are victims of atrocities or social ostracism, and work closely with local administration, police, courts and medical and rehabilitative institutions.
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) is a facilitating agency, formed to promote the micro businesses of women in the unorganised sector. RMK uses credit as an instrument of socio-economic change, and provides loans to women through intermediaries – Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and Women Self Help Groups (SHGs).
Schemes and initiatives:
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), since 1975, provides food, preschool education and primary healthcare to children under 6 years of age, and their mothers. Anganwadi centres are the local implementing agency for this scheme.
National Nutrition Mission (NNM) (launched in 2017) (Poshan Abhiyaan)
The NNM has been set up as an apex body to monitor, set targets, and guide nutrition related interventions across the ministries in a comprehensive manner. It will primarily focus on children under 6 years, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls. NNM has planned targets to address stunting, malnutrition and anaemia, for instance, it aims to reduce the under-5 stunting to 25% by 2022, from the 38% recorded by the NFHS-4 (2015-16).
Maternity Benefit Programme – Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – PMMVY
PMMVY is a scheme of conditional cash transfer to pregnant and lactating mothers, except those regularly employed in the public sector, for their first live birth. The objective of the scheme is to provide partial compensation for wage loss, and to promote healthcare seeking behaviour among women.
More schemes/programmes at a glance:
- STEP scheme – Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women
- A central sector scheme. Supports implementing institutions and NGOs through grants.
- National Mission for Empowerment of Women
- 2013 Priyadarshini Scheme – women empowerment and livelihood programme in Mid-Gangetic Plains, assisted by IFAD. Implemented through SHGs (Self Help Groups).
- Kishori Shakti Yojana
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
- UJJAWALA – trafficking and rehabilitation scheme
- Nari Shakti Puraskar
- NARI platform – information and links to all government schemes for women
- POCSO e-box : online complaints of child abuse. An initiative of NCPCR.
- Women of India Organic Festival.
- Swadhar Greh Scheme – for institutional support through DBT for rehabilitation and support to women victims of difficult circumstances.
Child rights and children’s issues.
Hunger and Nutrition in india – Global Hunger Index and Global Nutrition Report.