Policy to promote women’s empowerment

The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Constitution of India which guarantees gender equality and empowers the state to take positive action for women.

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The Indian government has taken various measures to ensure the empowerment of women through their social, educational, economic and political upliftment through various schematic interventions. While the measures put in place by the government such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (urban and rural), the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP), Pradhan Mantri Vyay Vandana Yojana (PMVVY), and Adolescent Program (SAG) helping women and girls to be in social security, initiatives such as Samagra Shiksha, Scheme of National Overseas Scholarship, Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojna, Swacch Vidyalaya Mission, etc. ensure that schools are suitable for girls, especially for vulnerable segments of society and have adequate facilities in place to meet their particular requirements.

In addition, the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 prioritizes gender equity and envisions ensuring equitable access to quality education for all students, with particular emphasis on Socially and economically disadvantaged groups (SEDG).

In order to improve the employability of women workers, the government offers them training through a network of women’s industrial training institutes, national vocational training institutes and regional vocational training institutes. To ensure women’s economic independence through skills development and vocational training, the government has also established the Skill India mission. The national skills development policy focuses on inclusive skills development, with the objective of increasing the participation of women for better economic productivity. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Kendras emphasized the creation of additional infrastructure for both training and apprenticeship of women; flexible training delivery mechanisms, flexible afternoon lots on local needs-based training to accommodate women; and ensuring a safe and gender sensitive training environment, the employment of female trainers, pay equity and a complaints mechanism. There are programs like Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana and Stand Up India, Prime Minister’s Job Creation Program (PMEGP), for helping women start their own businesses. As part of the Swacch Vidyalaya mission, it was ensured that all schools have at least one functional toilet for girls. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY) aims to protect women’s health by providing them with clean cooking fuel and avoiding the drudgery of collecting firewood.

In addition, in order to encourage the employment of women, a number of enabling provisions have been incorporated into recently promulgated labor codes, viz. the Wages Code, 2019, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and the Social Security Code, 2020 for the creation of a pleasant working environment for women workers. The Stand Up India program encourages entrepreneurship among women. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA) demands that at least one third of the jobs generated under the (MGNREGS) scheme be allocated to women. The government has also made enabling arrangements to allow the participation of women in unconventional sectors such as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force, commandos, central police forces, admissions in the Saïnik schools, etc. The government is also implementing the Shelters for Working Women program to provide safe housing for working women.

Although “Police and public order” are subjects of state under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India and the responsibility for maintaining public order, protection of life and property of citizens, including investigation and prosecution for crimes against women and children is primarily the responsibility of the respective state governments, the central government gives high priority to ensuring the safety and security of women and has undertaken various legislative and schematic interventions in this regard. These include laws such as “Criminal Law (Amending) Act, 2018”, “Criminal Law (Amending) Act 2013”, Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Remedy) Act 2013”, “Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act 2006”, “The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961”, etc. Programs / projects include One Stop Shops (OSC), Universal Women’s Helplines (WHL), Mahila Police Volunteers (MPV), Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) which is a pan-Indian single number (112) / mobile app-based system for emergencies, a cybercrime reporting portal to report obscene content and state / UT assistance to build cybercrime capacity, safe city projects in 8 cities (Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai), training and skills development programs for investigators (OI), prosecutors (PO) and doctors (MO), distribution of State Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) kits / UTs, setting up state-of-the-art DNA lab at CFSL, Chandigarh, assisting 24 states / UTs to strengthen forensic labs, assisting States / UT for their respective compensation schemes for victims within the framework of the Central Victims Compensation Fund (CVCF), establishment of Fast T create special courts (FTSC) for the rapid elimination of cases of rape and cases relating to the POCSO law, the establishment / strengthening of units to combat human trafficking (AHTU) in all districts of the country, the establishment / strengthening of assistance offices for women (WHD) in Police stations, Integrated Emergency Response Management System (IERMS) in 983 stations, CCTV system in Konkan stations, vehicle tracking platform customization, deployment and management program by the State, etc.

In addition, the Indian government has decided to implement the Safety, Security and Empowerment of Women Framework Program as an Integrated Women Empowerment Program under the name of “Shakti Mission‘, to address women’s issues on the basis of the lifecycle continuum and to make them equal partners in nation-building through convergence at different levels of governance and a participatory approach.

This information was given by the Union Minister for the Development of Women and Children, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written response to Rajya Sabha today.


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Policy to promote women’s empowerment

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The Indian government has taken various measures to ensure the empowerment of women through their social, educational, economic and political upliftment through various schematic interventions.


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Mara R. Wilmoth