Since the ancient times when King’s were said to have as many as 200 wives, the social evils like sati, female infanticide, dowry and child marriage have been haunting the Indian Society. The prevalence of such fanatical practices is not only a sin but a matter of national shame. Since Independence concrete efforts have been made for the upliftment of women and to educate them on important issues of social, economic, political, legal cadre.
Women upliftment and empowerment in India first received National and International recognition when the Indira Gandhi’s Government launched the Indira Mahila Yojana and when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) incorporated the issue of Women Upliftment as one of its primary objective. Since then a string of social programmes and yojanas have been undertaken to empower the rural women like the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh and Mahila Samridhi Yojana.
The government of India felt the need to put in place an appropriate institutional mechanism to look after the Rights of Women and thus instituted the formulation of All India Women’s Conference, National Women’s Commission and State Women’s Commission along with approval of special grants and allowances to NGO’s working for the cause of women upliftment and social mobility. Self Help Groups have also been constituted at Panchayat level to provide a platform for the rural women to discuss issues such as family planning, child marriage, widow remarriage, Sati, domestic violence. Mother Teresa’s Women University has greatly helped in the cause of women empowerment who received Noble Peace Prize for her benign social work. Recently World Bank approved funding for Andhra Pradesh Rural Poverty Reduction Programme (APRPRP) thus garnering international support for the upliftment of women. Women’s reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha has gained momentum with Govt. of India promising the reservation of one-third seats in Parliament for the women.
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