"Nai Roshni” 2012 - 13

The Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women

1. Background

  • The status of women in the country, particularly those from the disadvantaged sections of the society, is unfavourable. A girl child suffers from discrimination even before birth and also after birth in the allocation of household resources such as food, education, access to health care and at puberty, sometimes coerced into early marriage. Most women in the rural areas suffer from double burden of carrying out less quantifiable work like cooking, fetching water, sending children to school along with agriculture labour, feeding cattle, milking cows etc., while the men folk perform defined activities like selling milk and grains produced by the household. Women in the minority communities fare badly too. They are not just a minority, but the 'marginalized majority' and are sidelined in decision making in the family, and usually cut off from full involvement in the workings of the community and form an equal share in the rewards from social institutions.
  • Empowerment of women per se is not only essential for equity, but also constitutes a critical element in our fight for poverty reduction, economic growth and strengthening of civil society. Women and children are always the worst sufferers in a poverty stricken family and need support. Empowering women, especially mothers, is even more important as it is in homes that she nourishes, nurture and moulds the character of her offspring.
  • A report of the High Level Committee on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India (popularly known as the Sachar Report) had highlighted the fact that India’s largest minority group, the Muslim numbering 13.83 Crore, have been left out of the development trajectory and within this group Muslim women are doubly disadvantaged.
  • Keeping this in view, Ministry of Minority Affairs has reformulated the scheme in 2011-12 and renamed it as “Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women”. The implementation of the Scheme started in 2012-13.
  • Based on experience in the first year of implementation, it was felt to bring in certain modifications to ensure its reach to the target groups and effective implementation at ground level, and therefore an appraisal was made by the Standing Finance Committee in on 6th March 2013. As per their recommendations, the scheme has been revised as follows for continuation during 12th Five Year Plan:

Why was the scheme launched?

A report of the high level Committee on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India (Popularlyknown as the Sachar Report) had highlighted the fact that India's largest minority group have been left out of the development trajectory and within this group Muslim women are doubly disadvantaged. Keeping this in view, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has launched 'Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women'.

What is the purpose of the scheme?

The scheme is envisaged to reach out to women through nongovernmental organizations who will be provided with financial support for conducting leadership development trainings so that women are empowered and emboldened to move out of the confines of home and community and assume leadership roles and assert their rights collectively or individually.

What is the target group and distribution of target?

The minority communities served by the Ministry of Minority Affairs are Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as notified as minority communities. Eligible women of these minority communities would be the target group. However, the scheme permits a mix of women from other non-minority communities not exceeding 25% of a project proposal.

What is the eligibility criteria for women to be selected?

Although there will be no annual income bar, woman/parent or guardian, woman having annual income not exceed Rs.2.50 lakh from all sources would be given preference in selection. They should be between the age group of 18 years to 65 years.

What are the types of trainings and their eligibility?

There are two types of training:

Leadership development training in the village/locality. Up to 50 women in a village/locality who are dedicated, motivated and committed to work for the betterment of the welfare of women from the minority communities in particular. At least, 10% of the total woman in a group of 50 women should have passed Class X. This may be relaxed to class V level in case women who have passed class X are not easily available.

What is the purpose of workshops?

The organization, in collaboration with the District Collector/Deputy Commissioner/ SDO/ Block Development Officer, is required to organize a half day workshop to sensitize government functionaries, bankers including Panchayati Raj functionaries etc. at the district, Sub Division/ Block, etc. concerned about the women empowerment programme carried out by them under the scheme. In this workshop, the functionaries would be informed of the remedial action which may be brought and sought by groups of women and to be responsive in addressing their problems and grievances.

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