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Several substantial measures taken by the Government to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country: Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

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Several substantial measures taken by the Government to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country: Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi .

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The Union Minster of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has said that the new government has taken several concrete and substantial steps to reduce gender discrimination and to protect the women of the country. The Minister outlined the measures being taken by the Government in an oral reply to a starred question in the Lok Sabha during the Question Hour today. In her reply, Smt. Maneka Gandhi disclosed that in one such far-reaching initiative, the Union Territories have already provided 33% reservation to women in the police force to address the issue of crimes against women. Similarly, seven states have also given 33% reservation in police force while the remaining states have promised to do the same, she added. .

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In another landmark effort, One Stop Centres for Women affected by violence are being set up in each state of the country. Ten such centres have already become functional and receive up to 200 women in a week, the Minister explained. These women are given police, legal, medical and psychological assistance. Daily monitoring of these centres is being done by the Ministry and a proposal will soon be put up for setting up of 660 centres across the country, one in each district, she said. .

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Smt Maneka Gandhi said that to inculcate the concept of gender equality, the scheme of Gender Champions is being implemented from the school level itself. The WCD Minister disclosed that the scheme of Special Mahila Police Volunteers at village level will come into force from next month onwards. These women volunteers will keep an eye on incidents like molesting, eve teasing or parents denying education to children etc and help protect the women. The Women Helpline is making good progress and will be universalized throughout the country, she added. .

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Replying to a supplementary, Smt Maneka Gandhi said that in a recent development, an agreement has been reached with all concerned to have a panic button in mobile handsets, both old and new, which will enable women to seek help in distress. .

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Village Facilitation &Convergence Service is a new initiative which has started working in 15 districts in which women will be facilitated in different ways with respect to schemes meant for them. The WCD Minister said that these Village Facilitation Centres will be expanded to all the 100 districts of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme. The BBBP scheme , which was launched this year, is already showing very good results, the Minister explained. .

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To empower women, National Commission for Women has been asked to train the newly elected two lakhs sarpanches in how to administer villages, handle funds, take measures to protect women etc. Smt Maneka Gandhi assured that although India ranks 108th in the Global Gender Gap Index released this year,the rating will sure improve substantially in the coming surveys in view of the efforts being made by the government. .

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In her written reply to the same question, Smt. Gandhi said that the Government of India has already enacted a number of legislations to address gender based discrimination. These include the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961;Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986; the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006 (PCMA), Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and 73rd 74th Amendment of the Constitution mandating 33% reservation for women in the local governance. The Criminal Law (Amendment), Act 2013 has been enacted making punishment more stringent for offences like rape. .

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First Published: Fri, December 18 2015. 00:21 IST