The Centre today launched a training programme for women panchayat leaders to skill them in governance and administration with a special emphasis on efficient usage of funds to achieve overall development.
Union Ministers Maneka Gandhi and Narendra Singh Tomar interacted with select women village heads from Jhakhand through video conferencing during the programme, urging them to take keen interest in learning about various development schemes of the government.
This, they said, would ensure that women representatives do not have to rely on male representatives in running the panchayats.
Gandhi stressed on the need for them to learn how funds are allocated for various development programmes and how to spend it to ensure the budget released for a particular panchayat is efficiently utilised and the quality of the assets ensured.
"Studies have brought the challenges faced by women panchayat representatives and the problems faced by them. The conditions and background warrant a support system for women leaders to enhance their capacity, capability and skill in governance and administration," said Gandhi, the Women and Child Development Minister.
She urged the women panchayat representatives to get an overall idea on how houses and sanitation infrastructures like toilets and drains are constructed and give special focus on women education in villages. She also asked them to ensure that there is no trafficking of women.
"You should be aware of how many girls in area under your respective panchyats are attending school and try to figure out why girl students are dropping out and look for a solution.
"You should also know how to spend the money allocated for various projects and maintain accounts so that no one is able to cheat you," Gandhi said, and exhorted them to use cashless modes of payment including the Bhim app.
The objective of the training programme is to build the confidence of the women representatives in dealing with the daily functioning of the panchayats and make them aware of the laws and rights of women under Constitution of India.
She also advised them to form WhataApp groups to discuss and share among themselves their experiences/best practices along with achievements in order to empower each other.
Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation, Tomar said the women panchayat leaders can play an important role in addressing the problem of malnutrition in rural areas.
He was also optimistic about them ensuring vaccination for every child.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) with the help of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has developed training modules for empowering these elected women.
They will be trained by experts from the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRD and PR) in Hyderabad.