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June 26, 2018

Essay on Social Empowerment Programmes in India

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Social Empowerment Programmes of India

Overview :

  • Introduction of social empowerment programmes in India. 
  • Flagship programmes are mainly launched for
    • Rural India
    • Women
    • Children
    • Employment 
  • Rural schemes for social infrastructure and productive employment. 
  • Different schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls aims for development of girls. 
  • Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme for children. 
  • Different employment programmes to provide basic employment.
Welfare schemes or social empowerment programmes are not the invention of modern age, they were also part of the ancient 'Mauryan kingdom. Such schemes were continued throughout the ancient, medieval and the pre-modern age. This reveals the fact that empowerment of the poor, marginalised is ingrained in our culture, which has been inherited by the modern age to ensure that rule of law, equality and harmony prevails in the society. Social empowerment schemes though few in numbers and different in character, were also continued by the Britishers.

After independence, the nature of Indian economy, society completely changed due to exploitative nature of British rule. Rural India, which was once self-sufficient, was made uneconomic, poverty stricken and diseased. Mismanagement, famine, prevailing inequality, social culture, traditions were some other reasons that led to marginalisation of rural India, women, children and unemployed youth.

India adopted a mixed economy, where state took initiative to develop the masses. This initiative included establishment of Planning Commission which was nodal agency for flagship programming. To review performance of flagship programme, its effect on Indian economy, empowering the marginalised, flagship programme in four reactions would be chosen i.e. (i) Rural development schemes (ii) Child Welfare Schemes (iii) Women Empowerment Schemes (iv) Employment Schemes.

Rural Development Schemes

The development of rural India is an imperative for inclusive and equitable growth and to unlock huge potential of the population that is presently trapped in poverty with its associated deprivations. Rural schemes are mostly linked to social infrastructure and provision of gainful and productive employment. The genesis of rural development programme began with Community Development Programme (CDP) in 1952 and was instrumental in raising the standard of living and reconstructing the rural India.

But various factors such as lack of clearly defined priorities, cornering of the benefits by rich and big farmers, lack of coordination among different development departments, administrative inefficiency etc clouded the materialisation of CDP in full scale.

Subsequent to the CDP other rural development programmes like Integrated Rural Development Programme, National Rural Employment Programme, TRYSEM, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Antyodaya Programme, Drought-Prone Area Programme. Desert Development Programme, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana etc were initiated.

These programmes obtained mixed results and the fact that rural India still facing many kind of distress, proves their incompetence. To analyse the reason behind such distress, it is pertinent to review certain ongoing flagship scheme.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a right based wage employment programme, which aims at enhancing livelihood security. For successful implementation of MGNREGA, a web enabled Management Information System has also been developed to ensure transparency and accountability. Morever, it was successful in providing employment during lean months, helped increase rural consumption, creation of sustainable asset for agriculture etc.

National Rural Livelihood Mission seeks to reach out all rural poor household in the country and organise them into Self Help Groups (SHGs).

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in a bid to give better rural connectivity, has also included sustainable measures like use of locally available construction material such as waste plastic, fly ash, cold, mix technology. A good road should lead to a good house, hence government aimed at 'shelter for all' through Indira Awas Yojana.

Further National Social Assistance Programme (social security) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (skill development), Deen Dayal Upadhay Gram Jyoti Yojana (rural electrification) were initiated.

Women Empowerment Schemes

Chiristane Lagarde, Chief, IMF said that, "India's GDP can expand by 27% of the number of female workers would increase to the same level as that of men." Women enjoyed equal powers during the early Vedic period. But since later Vedic they have been subjugated, denied their rights, harrassed etc. In this regard, Ministry of Child and Women Development took the leadership for promoting empowered women living with dignity and contributing as equal partners in development in an environment free from violence and discrimination.

Discrimination against women starts even before her birth (infanticide) that continues with discrimination in health care, education etc. To their rescue came the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme, with a twin aim of not only improving the adverse sex ratio, but also to ensure that girls are educated.

Nutritional defficiency, iron defficiency amongst adolescent girls is a common phenomenon in India. Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls aims all round development of adolescent girls. To safeguard the future of girl child Sukanya Samriddhi Account Saving Scheme was launched which targated parents of girl child, is a part of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign.

One Stop Centre, a sub-scheme of the National Mission for Empowerment of women is intended to support women affected by violence is private and public spaces, within the family, community and at work place. In India, due to sociocultural, economic environment many women face difficulty like destitute women, or women released from jail, survivors of natural disasters. Moreover, many women fall prey to trafficking. So, Swadhan Scheme comes to rescue of destitute women and Ujjawala for the prevention of trafficking in women.

Child Welfare Schemes

Children of the age group 0-6 years constitute the future human resource of the country. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme is one of the world's largest and unique programmes for early child care and development. It is the foremost symbol of country's commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, mobility, reduced learning capacity and mortality on other.

With a view of enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children. Mid-Day Meal scheme was launched, where all children are served hot cooked meal irrespective of their caste, creed, sex etc. Nelson Mandela said that, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world". This aim is realised through the Sarva Shikha Abhiyan (SSA) a Universal Elementary Education Programme with opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children. National child labour project aims at eliminating child labour from hazardous condition and certain occupations and processes.

Employment Schemes

India is said to be refuge of stability and outpost of opportunity. The demographic dividend is a blessing in India's path to development. But all this would only be realised when youth's are provided employment and that too productive and gainful. The shift from agricultural economy and rising opportunity of education, has raised the demand of employment. Employment programme in India is guided to provide basic employment during lean seasons and also meet rising aspiration of the youths.

Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme is a credit linked subsidy programme launched by Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) for creation of employment in both rural and urban area of the country.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, National Rural Livelihood Mission, National Urban Livelihood Mission and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana aims at skilling, building a better India. Similarly, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is a project to engage rural youth specially BPL and SC/ST segment of population in gainful employment through skill training programme.

India is a nation of diversity. This diversity though colourful, has contradictory sides. The richest of the rich and poorest of the poor, most skilled research oriented scientist to the unskilled agricultural/bonded labour, obesity and malnutrition, are common feature of resurgent India. Hence, welfare schemes are directed at reducing these inequalities. Morever, to be effective and outcome oriented, welfare schemes should be decentralised for implementation purpose.

The use of information technology through E-governance programme to ensure accountability and transparency would go a long way in improving service delivery. And the last but not the least, all welfare schemes should involve citizens, right from planning to implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Reveals to make (something) publicly or generally known
  • Ingrained existing for a long time and very difficult to change
  • Imperative very important
  • Equitable just or fair
  • Dole something distributed at intervals to the needy
  • Destitute extremely poor
  • Retention the ability to keep something
  • Statutory controlled or determined by a law or rule. 
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
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