Women empowerment is a process that leads women to claim their rights to have access to equal opportunities in economic, cultural, social and political spheres of life and realize their full potential. This progress has to be accompanied by their freedom in decision making both within and outside their home with the ability to influence the direction of social change.
The government of India, in its commitment towards empowering women socially, economically and politically, announced establishment of “Mahila Shakti Kendra” in 2017-18 to provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.
Accordingly, a new sub-scheme namely Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) under the umbrella Scheme Pradhan Mantri Mahila SashaktikaranYojana (PMMSY) had been approved for implementation. The scheme will provide an interface for rural women to approach the government for availing their entitlements and for empowering them through awareness generation, training and capacity building.
The scheme MSK is envisaged to work at various levels. While, National level (domain based knowledge support) and State level (State Resource Centre for Women) structures will provide technical support to the respective governments on issues related to women, the District and Block level Centres will provide support to MSK and also give a foothold to women empowerment schemes.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has launched a slew of initiatives towards women emancipation ensuring their complete safety and protection and implementation of Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme in the UT was one such initiatives. Under this unique initiative, Mahila Shakti Kendras have been established in all districts of the UT along with One Stop Center (OSCs) connected with helpline 181.
Talking about J&K, MSK provides single window for all activities related to women. The established OSCs have been provided with one police official who has access to CCTNS for direct registration of FIRs from the centre itself. Besides, video conferencing facilities have been connected with District Legal Service Authorities and the facilities for recording statements and appearing in courts through video conference and all kinds of legal aid is being provided. Also, the OSCs have also been provided with medical examination facilities.
The MSKs have been connected with all the departments in the district which work on the principles of synergy and collaboration. Besides, short stay facilities through women homes and skilling and financial inclusion through MSKs to those in need are also being provided. The OSCs are also being acquainted with various schemes meant for women and deal specifically with complaints and violence related domestic issues of women. Likewise, 10 special cells have also been set up in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences and supported by National Women’s Commission also function in coordination with MSKs and OSCs.
The administration, in an effort to further these pro-women measures, will be establishing District Level Centres for Women (DLCW) at district level to create relevant and updated information bank on government schemes, programmes and services with all details like the eligibility criteria, documentation requirement, processing time, benefits, facilitating delivery, tracking status of applications etc. The DLCW will serve as a link between block/village and state level in implementation of PMMSK scheme. It will identify problems faced by women while applying for various government schemes, document the cases and will report to relevant fora including DCs office/PRIs to resolve the same. Besides, meetings will be organized where issues affecting convergence efforts at various levels including inter departmental convergence would be addressed and other social, economic factors affecting women’s empowerment can also be brought to the forum.
The DLCW will prepare a district level plan incorporating the deliverables based on the objectives of the programmes and schemes of Ministry of Women and Child Development within a fixed timeframe for implementation and local context. It will also be responsible for monitoring of schemes and training of functionaries etc.
Each of the Mahila Shakti Kendras provide an interface to the rural women so that they can approach the government so as to avail their entitlements through training and capacity building at four levels, national, state, district and block levels.
A woman is a full circle, within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. Nari shakti is a concept that has existed in Indian culture since time immemorial. Road to development cannot be travelled without the empowerment of women who form almost 50 per cent per cent of the Indian population. A multidirectional organized approach to women empowerment is sure to take the country way beyond this path.