Broad Policy –
- The UPA is committed to the implementation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1992. On Ayodhya, it will await the verdict of the courts, while encouraging negotiations between parties to the dispute for an amicable settlement which must, in turn, receive legal sanction.
- The UPA government will enact a model comprehensive law to deal with communal violence and encourage each state to adopt that law to generate faith and confidence in minority communities.
- The UPA government will amend the Constitution to establish a Commission for Minority Educational Institutions that will provide direct affiliation for minority professional institutions to central universities.
- The UPA will promote modern and technical education among all minority communities. Social and economic empowerment of minorities through more systematic attention to education and employment will be a priority concern for the UPA.
- The UPA will establish a National Commission to see how best the welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities, including reservations in education and employment, is enhanced. The Commission will be given six months to submit its report.
- Adequate funds will be provided to the National Minorities Development Corporation to ensure its effective functioning.
- The UPA government will examine the question of providing Constitutional status to the Minorities Commission and will also strive for recognition and promotion of Urdu language under Article 345 and 347 of the Constitution.
The National Integration Council will be restructured and revived so as to fulfil its original objectives. It will meet at least twice a year.
The empowerment of the weaker sections of society — scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs, minorities and women — has been an article of faith with the Indian National Congress.
This will be carried forward with emphasis on education, particularly skill-based and professional education.
Education at all stages — primary, secondary and university — will be free in all respects for boys and girls belonging to dalit and adivasi communities.
Coaching fees for all entrance exams for at least one lakh scheduled caste/scheduled tribe students every year will be paid by the Central Government.
National scholarships for boys and girls belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes will be further increased.
The Indian National Congress will take steps to ensure that allocations under the Special Component Plan for scheduled castes and the Tribal Sub-Plan for scheduled tribes (first introduced by Indira Gandhi( over three decades ago) are made in accordance with their proportions in the population.
An unprecedented special drive was launched by the Prime Minister and over 53,000 vacancies in government have been filled through direct recruitment or promotion of members belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This drive will continue.
The Indian National Congress is deeply committed to pursuing affirmative action for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the private sector. It has already initiated a national debate on this issue.
It also pledges to carve out a reservation for the economically weaker sections of all communities without prejudice to existing reservations for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBCs.
For the first time, a separate Ministry of Minority Affairs was created in May 2004 and the Rajinder Sachar Committee was set up to look into the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the country
- The implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee is already under way and an Equal Opportunity Commission will be established by law. Nearly four lakh scholarships have been awarded over the past two years alone for pre-matric, post-matric and professional courses, with more than 50% of these being awarded to girl students.
The Prime Minister’s 15-point programme was launched in June 2006 with physical and financial targets for minorities in all welfare programmes of the Central Government.
A special development package for the 90 minority-concentration districts in different states has been introduced.
The Indian National Congress is irrevocably committed to ensuring that the Constitutional rights of all minorities are protected fully, that the representation of minorities in public administration increases substantially, and that minorities recognize that the government is working for their welfare at all times.
The Indian National Congress has pioneered reservations for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in government employment and education on the basis of their social and economic backwardness.
We are committed to adopt this policy at the national level. A Wakf Development Corporation will be established to develop wakf properties. A National Unani University will be set up.
The corpus of the Maulana Azad Educational Foundation will be doubled.
The Indian National Congress introduced reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas.
Today, about 40% of the elected representatives in panchayats are women, compared to a reservation of 33% mandated for them. This is nothing short of a quiet revolution.
The Indian National Congress will ensure that the Bill for reserving 33% of the seats in the Lok Sabha and the State legislatures is passed in the 15th Lok Sabha and that the elections to the 16th Lok Sabha are held on the basis of one-third reservation for women.
Over the next five years, the Indian National Congress will endeavour to ensure that at least half of the country’s rural women population will be enrolled as members of self-help groups linked with banks and that they will get loans from banks at moderate interest rates.
The Indian National Congress also proposes to reserve one-third of all central government jobs for women.
The Indian National Congress believes that, in addition to education, business development programmes are needed on a larger-scale for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women.
Preferential policies will be adopted in government contracts to stimulate entrepreneurial activities amongst these groups.
Social security schemes for occupations like weavers, fishermen and fisherwomen, toddy tappers, leather workers, plantation labour, construction labour, mine workers and beedi workers will be expanded.
The Indian National Congress is deeply committed to ensuring equality of opportunity and full participation of persons with disabilities, including the blind, in all sectors of life.
To begin with, a comprehensive review of laws and programmes will be undertaken and the shortcomings noticed in their implementation will be removed.
The Indian National Congress reiterates its unflinching resolve to combat communalism of all kinds and to deal ruthlessly with those perpetrating atrocities on weaker sections like dalits and women.
The Indian National Congress believes in ensuring the right to compensation and rehabilitation for all victims of communal, ethnic and caste violence on standards and levels that are binding on every government.
The Indian National Congress will propose a law that empowers the National Human Rights Commission to monitor investigation and trial in all cases of communal and caste violence.
The Indian National Congress will bring school curricula of various communal and sectarian organizations— regardless of their affiliation —under the regulatory purview of an empowered national body.
Thanks entirely to the tireless efforts of Rajiv Gandhi, there are some 2,50,000 elected panchayat bodies all over the country with almost 32 lakh elected representatives
It is through such institutions that we will ensure inclusive governance which is essential for inclusive economic growth.
The Indian National Congress is unwavering in its commitment to full Constitutionally-mandated devolution of funds,functions and functionaries to the panchayats.
The annual allocations to gram panchayats that can be used for purposes designated as priority by the gram sabha will be substantially stepped up.
The Indian National Congress will also upgrade the technical capabilities of panchayat institutions and ensure that information technology is used extensively to enhance their effectiveness.
The Indian National Congress pledges to enact a Right to Food law that guarantees access to sufficient food for all people, particularly the most vulnerable sections of society.
The Indian National Congress pledges that every family living below the poverty line either in rural or urban areas will be entitled, by law, to 25 kgs of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg. Subsidised community kitchens will be set up in all cities for homeless people and migrants with the support of the Central government.
The UPA Government will strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS), particularly in the poorest and backward blocks of the country, and also involve women’s and ex-servicemen’s cooperatives in its management.
Special schemes to reach foodgrains to the most destitute and infirm will be launched. Grain banks in chronically food-scarce areas will be established. Antyodaya cards for all households at risk of hunger will be introduced.
The UPA Government will bring about major improvements in the functioning of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to control inefficiencies that increase the food subsidy burden.Nutrition programmes, particularly for the girl child, will be expanded on a significant scale.
Reforms & Targeted Actions –
Food and Public Distribution
- The National Food Security Bill which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 16th December, 2011 and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food in January, 2012, was cleared by the Union Cabinet with amendments as suggested the Parliamentary Standing Committee in March, 2013
- National Food Security Bill will revolutionize Food Distribution System By providing food security to 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population with focus on nutritional needs of children, pregnant and lactating women.
- Priority households are entitled to 5 kgs of food grains per per per month, and Antyodaya households to 35 kgs per household per month. The combined coverage shall extend up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population.
- The Targeted Public Distribution System is one of the core programmes of the Government of India which plays a vital role in ensuring food security of the people
- Under the TPDS, subsidized food grains is provided to about 18 crore households under Below Poverty Line (including Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Above Poverty Line categories, through a network of more than 5 lakh fair price shops in the country
- Computerization Of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) has been completed In 13 States/UT’s
- Digitization of Ration cards/ Beneficiary database has been completed in has been completed in 14 states /UT’s and are under progress 21 states/UT’s
- The Central Government has considered the recommendations of Dr. C. Rangarajan Committee and decided to dispense with the regulated release mechanism on open market sale of sugar. This would Facilitate Timely Payment of the Cane Prices to Farmers
Steps taken to Contain Price Rise in Essential Commodities
• The import duty on sugar has been kept at 10%.
• Banned export of edible oils (except coconut oil, forest based oil and edible oils in blended consumer packs upto 5 kg with a Minimum Export Price of USD 1500 per MT) and pulses (except Kabuli chana and organic pulses and lentils up to a maximum of 10000 tonnes per annum).
• Imposed stock limits from time to time in the case of select essential commodities such as pulses, edible oil, and edible oilseeds for a period upto 30.9.2013 and in respect of paddy and rice upto 30.11.2013.
• Maintained the Central Issue Price (CIP) for rice (at Rs 5.65 per kg for BPL and Rs 3 per kg for AAY) and wheat (at Rs 4.15 per kg for BPL and Rs 2 per kg for AAY) since 2002.
• Suspended Futures trading in rice, urad, tur, guar gum and guar seed.
• To ensure adequate availability of sugar for the households covered under TPDS, the levy obligation on sugar factories was restored to 10%.
- For the first time, a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was established in 2006.
- The Commission’s mandate is to ensure that the welfare of children as guaranteed by various laws is protected and promoted.
- New laws have also been passed to prohibit child labour and child marriage.
- New schemes to improve the nutritional status of children, especially girls, and to educate them have been launched in the past five years.
- Over 18 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers have benefited from an increase in their remuneration last year.
- The Indian National Congress commits itself to the universalisation of the ICDS by March 2012 and to provide an anganwadi in every habitation and full coverage of children up to the age of six for food, nutrition and pre-school education.
- The special requirements of children of migrant workers in towns and cities will be met through new programmes in association with civil society organizations.
- A number of programmes have already been launched to combat the still widely-prevalent phenomenon of child malnutrition and these will be infused with an even greater sense of urgency.
- Girl children in districts that have an adverse sex ratio and/or low enrolment of girls, monetary incentives will be given to the girl child to be credited to the girl child’s account on her completing primary school, middle school, secondary school and higher secondary school.
- The UPA Government has given greater focus to issues relating to women through creation of an independent Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Initiation of legislation that has taken the country closer to complete legal equality for women, gender budgeting and initiation of programmes for greater inclusion of women in all walks of life.
- The UPA Government initiated the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which has given more effective protection to women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within a family and provided them a civil remedy to deal with such violence.
- The UPA Government initiated changes the Hindu Succession Act, 1955 to make Hindu women’si nheritance rights in co parcenary property equal to that of men. Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was passed
- The UPA Government has introduced a bill in Parliament to amend the Factories Act, 1948 in order to provide flexibility in the employment of women at night while requiring the employer to ensure measures for safety and protection, and thereby generate employment opportunities for women.
- Women’s Reservation Bill– The Rajya Sabha has passed the- Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008 providing for reservation for women in as nearly as one-third of the total seats of the Lok Sabha and of the State Legislative Assemblies,bill on 9th March 2010.
- UPA remains committed to the passage of Women’s Reservation Bill to politically empower women
- In 2009, The Cabinet approved the proposal for moving an official amendment to the Constitution (One Hundred and Tenth Amendment) Bill, 2009 for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats at all tiers from 1/3 to at least 50 per cent.
- Many states have already implemented the 50% reservation of women in Panchayats and Urban Local bodies. The Constitution Amendment Bills in this regard, already introduced in the Parliament. Standing Committee Report tabled.
- A High Level Committee (HLC) on the status of women has been constituted which shall undertake a comprehensive study to understand the status of women since 1989.
- The HLC will prepare a report on the current socio-economic, political and legal status of women in India, and evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of women’s needs.
- The UPA Government has introduced gender budgeting for improving the sensitivity ofprogrammes and schemes to women’s welfare.
- The budgetary outlay for 100% women-specific has been rising each year.
- The UPA government has set up the National Mission for Empowerment of Women on 8th March 2010, to secure inter-sectoral convergence of all pro-women/women centric programmes cutting across ministries/ departments, states and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
- The activities of the mission will be overseen by the National Mission Authority, which is headed by the Prime Minister National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) began a unique initiative in 2011 – a new model of ‘convergence centres’ for women, called ‘Poorna Shakti Kendras’ dedicated to helping women access the benefits made available to them through various government programmes, in select districts of the country
- State Mission Authorities have been notified by 18 States/ U.Ts and State Resource Centre for Women (SRCWs) have been set up in 6 States.
- With a view to bringing in gender equality in personal laws, the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 22nd April 2010 providing for amendment to the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and the Hindu Adoption And Maintenance Act, 1956.
- A new scheme of financial assistance and support services to victims of rape has been formulated to provide financial assistance to enable the victims of rape to cope with the trauma suffered and tide over their immediate and long-term needs.
- The scheme seeks to restore the affected women to a position of dignity and self-confidence. The ceiling of financial assistance, together with support services, is Rs2.00 lakhs, which can be enhanced to Rs 3.00 lakhs in case of aggravated rape
- UPA has passed the The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in April 2013 to protect women’s right to equality, life and liberty.
- After the gruesome incident of gangrape in Delhi, the UPA Govt has taken several steps in order to strengthen the whole gamut of criminal justice and administrative system
- Committee of Three Eminent Jurists was Constituted by the Government. The Justice Verma Committee gave valuable and detailed suggestions for women safety, most of the recommendations are under implementation through various mechanisms.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act , 2013 has been passed by the Parliament– It’s a strong Anti-Rape law which advocates death penalty in rarest of rare rape cases.
- Government initiates time-bound action plan to strengthen the police and administration to combat sexual crimes against women
- NCRB will compile a database of persons convicted of criminal offences. The details of criminals convicted of crimes against women will be displayed on their website.
- Action will be taken to provide the facility of registering an FIR in any police station irrespective of the jurisdiction or area of the time. The FIR may thereafter be transferred to the concerned police station for investigation.
- It is important that citizens should not face any harassment when they come forward to assist women in distress. For this, such citizens should be protected to enable them to freely report a crime and assist the victim/police without being subjected to any interrogation or being forced to become witnesses.
- ‘Women Only’ buses should be pressed into service. A programme is proposed to be undertaken for encouraging more women driven buses/taxis all over the country.
- Strict action will be taken against police personnel and officers found to be either displaying bias against women or neglecting their supervisory responsibilities in this regard.
- Training courses need to be organized on a regular basis, for gender sensitization among the police force, particularly at the level of the constabulary
- Government has constituted a Special Task Force headed by Union Home Secretary to look into the safety issues of women in Delhi and review the functioning of Delhi Police on an ongoing basis.
- Women will need to be recruited in large numbers in the Delhi Police. MHA will take necessary action to obtain necessary approvals within this financial year (2013)
- A proposal for 370 such vans has been sent by Delhi Police has been approved to man sensitive zonesThese PCR vans to atleast one lady police personnel
- Department of Women and Child Development has starteda scheme to provide compensation to victims of sexual assault and also a scheme for setting up Crisis Response Centres in select hospitals to provide psychological and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Its working on a pilot phase in 100 districts from 2013-14.
- The Government proposes to put in place a countrywide three-digit number (such as 100) to respond to all emergency situations. This would be similar like 911 or 990
- 181 is the additional helpline number dedicated to responding to women in distress.
- Sustained awareness campaigns on gender equality are being undertaken in all schools and colleges and gender modules
- Imparting training to girls in educational institutions in self defence/martial arts being encouraged
- 1.5 Crore Girls Get Low-Cost Sanitary Napkins under Promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls of rural areas in the age group of 10-19 years covering 152 districts of 20 states
- Budget 2013-14 proposes, an All Women Bank – For women, By Women and Of Women- to start functioning from October 2013.
- In Budget 2013-14 – Government Pledges to Empower Women and Keep them Safe and Secure : Nirbhaya Fund of Rs. 1,000 Crores Announced
- Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) is a centrally sponsored scheme which has been introduced in 52 selected districts. It is a conditional cash transfer scheme being implemented with a view to creating a better enabling environment for pregnant and lactating women
- ICDS Universalized With 12.95 Lakh Anganwadies Benefitting 959.22 Lakh Children
- UPA has introduced multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burden districts
- Prime Minister’s Council on India’s Nutrition is implementing a nationwide information, education and communication (IEC) campaign against malnutrition.
- Rajiv Gandhi for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls’ (RGSEAG) – SABLA is being implemented in 200 districts across the country on a pilot basis. It Benefits Around 47 Lakh Adolescent Girls
- Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers. 5 model crèches have been set up in Delhi on pilot basis with enhanced financial norms
- Ujjwalla– A Scheme for Rescue, safe withdrawal of the victim from the place of exploitation was launched in December 2007. So for 162 projects including 81 Rehabilitation Homes have been sanctioned, spread over 17 States.
- Dhanalakshmi – A Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme for Girl Child- “Dhanalakshmi” is being implemented in 11 Blocks across seven States on pilot basis
- An amount of Rs. 7515.72 crores has been projected for various schemes/programme relating to Women to be implemented by the Ministry in the 12th Plan.
- Working Women’s Hostel (WWH) Scheme envisages provision of safe and affordable hostel accommodation to working women. A 500 bed hospital was built in Jasola, Delhi for working women from the North East
- Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) with a corpus of Rs.100 crore extends micro-finance services to bring about the socio-economic upliftment of poor women.
Children and Child Rights
- The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy for Children, 2012.
- The Policy reaffirms the government`s commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country.
- It recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own, and a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the harmonious development and protection of children.
- The policy has identified survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection and participation as the undeniable rights of every child, and has also declared these as key priority areas.
- A National Plan of Action will be developed to give effect to the policy and a National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG) will be constituted to monitor the progress of implementation. Similar plans and coordination and action groups will be constituted at the state and district levels.
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to provide safe and secure environment for children in 18 States has been implemented. Approximately 1 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under ICPS in 2011 itself