9th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)

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Human and Social Development
Sectoral Overview || Basic Minimum Services || Education || Health || Family Welfare || Indian System of Medicine and Homoepathy || Housing, Urban Development, Water Supply and Civic Amenities || Empowerment of Women and Development of Children || Empowerment of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups || Social Welfare || Labour and Labour Welfare || Art and Culture || Youth Affairs and Sports



3.8.1 Women and children, who represent more than two third (67.7 per cent) of the country's total population, constitute the most important target groups in the context of the present day developmental planning. Therefore, their concerns are placed on the priority list of the country's developmental agenda. Needless to say, they have the strength and support of the Constitution.


3.8.2 Women, as a separate target group, account for 407.8 million (including girl children) as per the 1991 census and constitute 48.1 per cent of the country's total population. Depending upon the developmental needs of the individual age groups, the entire female population has been categorised into five distinct sub-groups, viz. i) girl children in the age-group 0-14 years, who account for 153.85 million (37.8%) and deserve special attention because of the gender bias and discrimination they suffer from at such a tender age; ii) adolescent girls in the age group 15-18 years, who account for 38.70 million (9.5%) and are very sensitive from the view point of planning because of the preparatory stage for their future productive and reproductive roles in the family and society; iii) women in the reproductive age group of 15-44 years, numbering 183.67 million (45.1%) who need special care and attention because of their reproductive needs; iv) women in the economically active age group of 15-59 years, who account for 226.04 million (55.5%) and have different demands like those of education/training, employment, income generation and participation in the developmental process, decision making etc; and v) the elderly women in the age group 60+, numbering 27.17 million (6.7%) who have limited needs mainly relating to health, emotional and financial support.

3.8.3 The principles of gender equality and equity and protection of women's rights have been the prime concerns in Indian thinking right from the days of Independence. Accordingly, the country's concern in safeguarding the rights and privileges of women found its best expression in the Constitution of India. While Article 14 confers equal rights and opportunities on men and women in the political, economic and social spheres, Article 15 prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of sex, religion, race, caste etc; and Article 15(3) empowers the State to make affirmative discrimination in favour of women. Similarly, Article 16 provides for equality of opportunities in the matter of public appointments for all citizens. Yet, another Article 39 mentions that the State shall direct its policy towards providing to men and women equally the right to means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work. Article 42 directs the State to make provisions for ensuring just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. Article 51(A) (e) imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen to renounce the practices derogatory to the dignity of women. To make this de-jure equality into a de-facto one, special legislations have been enacted from time to time in support of women.

3.8.4 In the earlier phase of developmental planning, the concept of women's development was mainly `welfare' oriented. During the Sixties, women's education received priority along with the measures to improve maternal and child health and nutrition services. During the Seventies, there was a definite shift in the approach from `welfare' to `development' which started recognising women as participants of development. The Eighties adopted a multi-disciplinary approach with a special thrust on the three core sectors of health, education and employment. Accordingly, priority was given to implementation of programmes for women under different sectors of agriculture and its allied activities of dairying, poultry, small animal husbandry, handlooms, handicrafts, small scale industries etc. Recognising the role and contribution of women in development, the early Nineties made a beginning in concentrating on training-cum-employment cum-income generation programmes for women with the ultimate objective of making them economically independent and self-reliant.


3.8.5 Developmental policies and programmes, both in the women-specific and women-related sectors, put into action through various Five Year Plans, have brought forth a perceptible improvement in the socio-economic status of women in the country. The following paragraphs give an account of important achievements along with the problems and gaps that are existing and requiring attention of the Government in the core Sectors of health and demography, education, employment, decision-making, political participation etc.

3.8.6 In the field of health and demography, significant gains in respect of women's health status have been recorded. Expectation of Life at Birth for females has risen steadily from 31.7 years in 1951 to 59.7 years in 1989-93 and finally overtaken the male life expectancy of 59.0 years during the same period, as detailed in Table 3.8.1.

                    Table  - 3.8.1

               Life Expectancy at Birth (1951

(in years) 


Year                Female                 Male


1951                 31.7                  32.5

1961                 40.6                  48.9

1971                 44.7                  46.4

1981-85              55.7                  55.4

1987-91*             58.6                  58.1

1989-93*             59.7                  59.0


* Based on the SRS Estimates; Source : Census of India, 1991 - Final Population Totals,Paper 2 of 1992,Government of India, New Delhi, 1993

3.8.7 Similarly, the Mean Age at Marriage for females has also increased from 15.6 years in 1951 to 18.3 years in 1981, while the effective age at marriage stood at 19.4 years in 1995. The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1976 which raised the age of marriage for girls from 15 to 18 years has helped prevent child/early marriages amongst girls and the consequent early pregnancies and birth of premature babies. Acquiring higher/continuing education and greater employment by women has also played a role in raising their age at marriage as per the details given in Table 3.8.2.

       		Table  - 3.8.2
     Mean Age at Marriage during 1951- 1995
   (in years) 
Year       Female                    Male
1951       15.6                       19.9
1961       15.5                       21.3
1971       17.2                       22.4
1981       18.3                       23.3
1991       19.5*                      NA
1995       19.4*                      NA 

* Mean age at effective marriage; Source :- SRS - Fertility and Mortility Indicators for respective years, Registrar General of India,
New Delhi

3.8.8 Further, while the Crude Birth Rate (CBR) has declined from 40.8 in 1951 to 27.5 in 1996, the Crude Death Rate (CDR) has gone down from 15.6 in 1970 to 8.9 in 1996. Similarly, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has also declined from about 6 in the early 1950's to 3.5 in 1994. For further details, refer the Chapter on `Family Welfare'. The maternal mortality which stood at a very high rate of 437 per one lakh live births in 1993, as per the National Health and Family Survey, is a matter of great concern. This high rate of maternal mortality is attributable to the following major causes, as indicated in Table 3.8.3. which are both treatable/preventable through effective health and nutrition interventions :

		Table 3.8.3
Percentage Distribution of Cause- Specific
	Maternal  Deaths - 1995
  Cause                      Percentage
-  Bleeding of Preg- 
   nancy  and  Puerperium           28.9
-  Abortion                     17.6
-  Anaemia                      17.0
-  Toxaemia                      9.9
-  Puerperium Sepsis             8.5
-  Malposition of Child          4.0
-  Non Classifiable             14.1
   Total                       100.0

Source : Survey of Causes of Death (Rural), India, Annual Report (1995), Office of the Registrar Gen.of India, New Delhi

3.8.9 As could be seen above, the highest number of maternal deaths in 1995 were due to bleeding of pregnancy and Puerperium which are preventable through better reproductive health care. Abortion which is the second high accounted for 17.6 per cent of total maternal deaths in 1995, although abortion was legalised as early as in 1972 as a health measure through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. Despite this special sanction, illegal abortions still continue to be performed by the unauthorised persons like the local quacks and untrained persons under unhygienic and unsafe conditions because of the non-availability of MTP services within the easy reach of most of the rural population. Further, about 47.5 per cent of deliveries were performed by untrained persons during 1995-96. While the Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are already very high, cases of HIV/AIDS have also been increasing amongst women. Of the total 3161 cases of AIDS reported by the end of 1996, 749 were women.

3.8.10 The Sex Ratio which illustrates the survival scene of women, has been exceptionally unfavourable to women, besides being on a declining trend right from the beginning of this century, except for a marginal rise in 1951 and 1981. The sex ratio which was 946 females per 1000 males in 1951 has declined further to 927 in 1991, as shown in Table 3.8.4.

	Table - 3.8.4
     Sex Ratio (1951-1991)
 YEAR             SEX RATIO
1951                 946
1961                 941
1971                 930
1981                 934
1991                 927

Source : Census of India,1991-Final Population Totals. Paper 2 of 1992, GOI, New Delhi,1993.

3.8.11 According to the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, 49.3 per cent females were suffering from varying degrees of Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED) and 87.5 per cent of pregnant women were anaemic of various degrees during 1989-90. These deficiencies, as stated earlier, are easily preventable by providing better nutrition to women through their adolescence period and more specifically during pregnancy. For more details, see `Nutrition' under Chapter 'Food and Nutrition Security'.

3.8.12 The gains in the women's education, has been reflected in the increase of female literacy rate from 7.9 per cent in 1951 to 39.3 per cent in 1991, which is twice the increase over the male literacy rate during the same period, as indicated in Table 3.8.5.

				Table 3.8. 5
                          Literacy  Rates (1951 - 1991)
Year                 Female                              Male
1951                  8.86                                27.16
1961                 15.34                                40.40
1971                 21.97                                45.95
1981                 29.85                                56.50
1991                 39.19                                64.13

Source : Census of India of respective years; Office of the Registrar General of India, GOI, New Delhi.

3.8.13 The enrolment of girls at the primary level has also increased from 5.4 million in 1950-51 to 47.9 million (provisional) in 1996-97, representing a nine-fold increase. Correspondingly, the enrolment of girls at the middle level has also increased from 0.5 million to 16.3 million and at the higher secondary level from 0.2 million to 9.8 million, indicating an increase by more than 32 times and 49 times, respectively during the same period, as per the details given in the later part of this Chapter under `Development of Children'.

3.8.14 Similarly, the number of women/girls in the higher education which includes colleges, universities, professional colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Technology, has also increased from 13.60 lakh (33.2%) in 1990 to 21.39 lakh (35.5%) in 1997, as per the details given in Table 3.8.6.

                          Table 3.8.6
  Enrolment of Girls at Graduate/Post Graduate/Professional
             Courses  during 1990-91  and  1996-97
                                        (Figures in lakhs)
                                 1990-91         1996-97
  Levels                     Girls    Total    Girls    Total
Graduate                     11.40    32.87     18.20    48.72
(B.A./B.SC./B.Com.)          (34.7)            (37.4)
Post Graduate                 1.16    3.54       1.65     5.41
(M.A./M.SC./M.COM.)          (32.8)            (30.5)
B.ED./B.T                     0.40    0.92       0.50     1.16
                             (44.2)            (43.1)
B.E./B.Sc(Eng)/               0.26    2.41       0.49     3.28
B.Arch.                      (10.9)            (14.9)
M.B.B.S.                      0.28    0.84       0.43     1.21
                             (34.3)            (35.4)
Ph.D/D.Sc./D.Phil             0.10    0.33       0.12     0.41
                             (26.2)            (29.2)
Total                        13.60   40.91     21.39     60.19    
                             (33.2) (35.5)

Note: Figures within the parenthesis indicate percentage to total; Source: Selected Educational Statistics - 1990-91 And 1996-97 Department of Education.

3.8.15 The drop-out rates, which have a direct bearing on the school retention rates, have also shown a definite declining trend both in the case of boys and girls at all levels of school education during the last decade 1986 to 1996 as per the details given in the later part of the Chapter under `Development of Children'. However, the drop-out rates in the case of girls have always remained higher than those of boys. This was further compounded by the highly pronounced regional and rural-urban differentials, besides sex differentials which continue to persist. Though the gains in the educational status of Women have been impressive, gender justice in education still continues to be a distant goal, with 60.7 per cent of women being illiterate as per the 1991 Census.

3.8.16 According to the 1991 Census, the female Work Participation Rate (WPR) registered an increase from 14.2 per cent in 1971 to 22.3 per cent in 1991. But, at the same time, it was much lower than the male work participation rate with both urban and rural differentials and with much wider regional variations ranging from as high as 34 per cent to as low as 4 per cent amongst the major States. Data on the subject is given in Table 3.8.7.

 				Table  3.8.7  
                            Work  Participation  Rates  (1971-91)
Years                  T/R/U           Females            Males            Persons
  1971                 Total             14.22              52.75             34.17
                       Rural             5.92               53.78             35.33
                       Urban             7.18               48.88             29.61  
  1981                 Total            19.67               52.62             36.70
                           Rural        23.06               53.77             38.79
                           Urban         8.31               49.06             29.99
  1991                 Total            22.27              51.61             37.50
                           Rural        26.79              52.58              40.09
                           Urban        9.19               48.92              30.16

Note : 1. Excludes Assam and J and K; 2. 1971 figures are totals of workers and non- workers with secondary work whereas, 1981 and 1991 figures are totals of main and marginal workers.; Source : Census of India, Series-I, Registrar General of India, New Delhi.

3.8.17 The Table 3.8.8 attempts to give the distribution of women work force in the organised and unorganised sectors in comparison to their male counterparts :

			Table  3.8.8 
                     Labour Force in the Organised and Unorganised Sectors in 1991
                                                            (Figures in Millions)
                                 Female                 Male             Total
                             --------------         ---------------    -----------
     Sector                 Actual     %          Actual      %          Actual      %
    - Organised             3.78      4.2        22.95      10.2         26.73     8.5
    - Unorganised           85.99    95.8        201.41     89.8         287.40    91.5
             Total          89.77    100.0       224.36     100.0        314.13   100.0

Note : Computed based on the Census data and of the DGE and T, GOI, New Delhi.

3.8.18 Of the total women workforce of 89.77 million (28.6%) in 1991, their share in the organised sector is only 4.2 per cent, while the rest of the 95.8 per cent are in the unorganised sector where there are no legislative safeguards even to claim either minimum or equal wages along with their male counterparts, leave aside the other benefits that the women in the organised sector enjoy.

3.8.19 According to the Director General of Employment and Training (DGE and T), New Delhi, women's share in the organised sector has steadily increased from 11.0 per cent in 1971 to 15.9 per cent in 1997, but it still stands very low when compared to men, as per the data given in Table 3.8.9.

						Table 3.8.9
				Women in Organised Sector (1971-1997)
                                                          ( Figures in lakhs)  
 Year       Public Sector           Private Sector                  Total  
          Women     Men         Women         Men         Women           Men 
 1971     8.6       98.7        10.8         56.8         19.3           155.6
          (8.0)    (92.0)       (16.0)       (84.0)       (11.0)         (89.0)  
 1981     14.99    139.85       12.95        61.01        27.93          200.52  
           (9.7)    (90.3)       (17.5)       (82.5)       (12.2)         (87.8) 
 1991     23.47    167.1        14.34        62.43        37.81          229.52 
           (12.3)   (87.7)       (18.7)       (81.3)       (14.1)         (85.9)
 1997     26.11    162.57       17.77        69.20        43.88          231.77 
           (13.8)   (86.2)       (20.4)       (79.6)       (15.9)         (84.1)

Note : Figures in parenthesis are percentages; Source: DGE and T, Ministry of Labour, GOI, New Delhi.

3.8.20 Similarly, while representation of women in the Government account for only 13.7 per cent, their representation at the decision-making levels through the three Premier Services in the country viz. Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Foreign Service (IFS) has accounted for only 5.8 per cent in 1987. Although, the same has been increased marginally to 7.5 in 1997, yet it stood at a very low ebb as per the data given below, requiring both affirmative action and special interventions to help raise the number of women at various decision-making levels.

		  Table 3.8.10
Representation of Women in Premier Services (1987-1997)
Service           1987                      1997
         Total    Female    %       Total   Female     %
IAS      4204      339     7.5      4991    512      10.2
IPS      2418       21     0.9      3045     67       2.2
IFS       480       53    10.0       575     71      12.3
Total    7102      413     5.8      8611    650       7.5

Source: Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of External Affairs; Department of Personnel, GOI, New Delhi.

3.8.21 The problem of unemployment, especially amongst the educated women, has become a matter of great concern in the recent past. The rate of unemployment amongst urban females which stood at 5.4 per cent in 1990-91 has become very significant when compared to 0.4 per cent amongst rural females during the same year. The same trend is visible even in the NSSO data based on the current weekly status of unemployment, which stood at 5.3 per cent for urban females and 2.1 per cent for rural females in 1990-91. While the number of women on the Live Registers of Employment Exchanges has increased from 5.5 million in 1988 to 8.4 million in 1996, the educated unemployed women (Matriculates and above) in 1992 stood at 5.4 million.

3.8.22 The landmark achievement of both 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1993 brought forth a definite impact on the participation of women in the grass-root democracy through the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Local Bodies. In the recent elections of PRIs held during 1993-95, women have achieved participation even beyond the mandatory requirement of 1/3rd of total seats in States like West Bengal (35.1%), Kerala (36.4%) and Karnataka (43.4%). In fact, these amendments are expected to achieve effective participation of women in grass-root democratic institutions and its processes, both as individuals and as representatives of interest groups.

3.8.23 In the State Legislative Assemblies, although the number of women has increased from 102 (2.5%) in 1977 to 162 (3.9%) in 1997, the same stands at a very low ebb. Similarly, the number of women in the Lok Sabha has also increased from 22 (4.4%) in 1952 to 41 (7.5%) in 1998 as shown in Table 3.8.11, but the same continued to be very low.

		          Table 3.8.11
Representation of Women in Parliament (1952-1998)
Year        Lok Sabha         |  Year      Rajya Sabha
         Females      Males   |          Females     Males
-------------------   -------------------------------------
1952        22         475    |  1952       15        201
1980        28         514    |  1984       24        209
1991        39         486    |  1990       24        221
1996*       39         501    |  1996       19        219
1998        41         543    |  1998       18        218

* Provisional as on 20.8.1996; Source: Election Commission of India.

3.8.24 The status-quo, referred to above, can only change when women's concerns gain political prominence and a fairly representative number of women are in position not only at grass-roots level, but also at the state and national levels to convert them into a political will. This calls for affirmative action on the part of the Government.

3.8.25 Efforts of both governmental and non-governmental women's organisations and women's activists to contain violence against women have not been able to meet much success, as the incidence of atrocities against women has been increasing. The problems of dowry/dowry deaths continue unabated despite the existence of legislation prohibiting dowry and prescribing stringent measures for violating the law. Similarly, the legislation of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (as amended and renamed in 1986) could not curb the age-long social evil of prostitution as it started spreading even amongst children.

3.8.26 Violence against women, both domestic and at work place, continues its existence as is evident from the increasing incidence of rape, dowry-related cruelty and murders. As per the data published by the National Crimes Record Bureau, New Delhi, out of the total 1,15,723 cases related to women and registered under IPC in 1996, rape accounted for 14,846 (12.8%), dowry deaths 5513 (4.8%) and cases of torture 35,246 (30.5%). The media, particularly the TV and Cinema, has been perpetuating gender stereo-types, with visuals becoming more and more sex and violence oriented. Through selective and biased messages, women's role is projected as passive and victimised wives/mothers/sisters. This, in fact, has been rendering invisibility to many aspects of women's contribution to society.


3.8.27 `Empowerment of Women' being one of the nine primary objectives of the Ninth Plan, every effort will be made to create an enabling environment where women can freely exercise their rights both within and outside home, as equal partners along with men. This will be realised through early finalisation and adoption of the `National Policy for Empowerment of Women' which laid down definite goals, targets and policy prescriptions along with a well defined Gender Development Index to monitor the impact of its implementation in raising the status of women from time to time.



  • Empowering Women As The Agents Of Social Change And Development


  • To create an enabling environment for women to exercise their rights, both within and outside home, as equal partners along with men through early finalisation and adoption of "National Policy for Empowerment of Women"
  • To expedite action to legislate reservation of not less than 1/3 seats for women in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assemblies and thus ensure adequate representation of women in decision making
  • To adopt an integrated approach towards empowering women through effective convergence of existing services, resources, infrastructure and manpower in both women specific and women related sectors
  • To adopt a special strategy of "Women‘s Component Plan" to ensure that not less than 30 percent of funds/benefits flow to women from other developmental sectors
  • To organise women into Self help group and thus mark the beginning of a major process of empowering women
  • To accord high priority to reproductive child health care
  • To universalise the on-going supplementary feeding programme- Special Nutrition Programme (SNP) and Mid Day Meals(MDM)
  • To ensure easy and equal access to education for women and girls through the commitments of the Special Action Plan of 1998
  • To initiate steps to eliminate gender bias in all educational programmes
  • To institute plans for free education for girls upto college level, including professional courses
  • To equip women with necessary skills in the modern upcoming trades which could keep them gainfully engaged besides making them economically independent and self-reliant
  • To increase access to credit through setting up of a ‘Development Bank for Women Entrepreneurs in small and tiny sectors


3.8.28 An integrated approach will be adopted towards empowering women through convergence of existing services, resources, infrastructure and manpower available in both women-specific and women-related sectors with the ultimate objective of achieving the set goal. To this effect, the Ninth Plan directs both the Centre and the States to adopt a special strategy of `Women's Component Plan' through which, not less than 30 per cent of funds/benefits are earmarked in all the women-related sectors. It also suggests a special vigil to be kept on the flow of the earmarked funds/benefits through an effective mechanism to ensure that the proposed strategy brings forth a holistic approach towards empowering women.

3.8.29 While organising women into Self-Help Groups marks the beginning of a major process of empowering women, the institutions thus developed would provide a permanent forum for articulating their needs and contributing their perspectives to development. Recognising the fact that women have been socialised only to take a back seat in public life, affirmative action through deliberate strategies will be initiated to provide equal access to and control over factors contributing to such empowerment, particularly in the areas of health, education, information, life-long learning for self development, vocational skills, employment and income generating opportunities, land and other forms of property including through inheritance, common property, resources, credit, technology and markets etc. To this effect, the newly elected women members and the women Chairpersons of Panchayats and the Local Bodies will be sensitised through the recently launched special training package to take the lead in ensuring that adequate funds/benefits flow towards the empowerment of women and the girl child.

Health and Family Welfare

3.8.30 The Ninth Plan recognises the special health needs of women and the girl child and the importance of enhancing easy access to primary health care. There are many indicators to point out that the neglect of health needs of women especially that of the pregnant women, adolescent girls and girl-babies, is responsible for the present high rates of IMR/CMR/MMR. Therefore, a holistic approach with Reproductive Child Health (RCH) measures will be adopted in improving the health status of women by focussing on their age-specific needs.

3.8.31 Taking into account their multiple roles including the physical labour that women in the lower strata of the society living in the backward rural areas and urban slums have to carry on, efforts will be made to ensure that the health services become more responsive towards women-specific health problems. In this direction, the major strategy will be to increase women's access to appropriate, affordable and user-friendly health care services. Special attention will also be paid to occupational health hazards. The present strategy extending primary health care services for all through the Special Action Plan of 1998 is expected to fill the critical gaps in the existing primary health care infrastructure and make it more effective to reach 'Health Care Services for All' with a priority to the rural and urban poor living below the poverty line.

3.8.32 To achieve the expected level of 50/1000 of IMR and 3/1000 of MMR by 2002 AD, if current trend continues, the Ninth Plan accords high priority to reproductive child health care and proposes an integrated approach with ante-natal, natal and post-natal care and child health services. In this context, the Ninth Plan identifies the long-standing gap of non-availability of data on maternal mortality and suggests that the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, New Delhi should initiate action in making the data on the maternal mortality available on a regular basis like that of IMR, as the same is a pre-requisite for planning both need-based and area-based strategies to reduce the existing high rate of maternal mortality.

3.8.33 The other effective measures proposed in this direction include identification and management of high-risk mothers, appropriate management of anaemia, hyper-tension disorders and provision for emergency obstetric care. Further, steps will also be taken to close the gender gaps in the existing rates of both mortality and morbidity. Also, considering the fact that more than 50 per cent of the deliveries and a large number of illegal abortions are being performed by unqualified persons, particularly in the rural areas, special efforts will be made to promote ready access to medical termination of pregnancy and intra-partum care at Primary Health Centres. In areas where institutional delivery rates are low, focussed TBA training will be undertaken.

3.8.34 Prevention/control of the misuse of medical technologies for commercial purposes will be taken up on a priority basis as the incidence of female foeticide has been on an increase due to misuse of the medical technology of Amniocentesis for sex determination, which is generally followed by illegal and harmful practices of female foeticide. Action in this direction will include effective enforcement of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 with stringent measures of punishment of both the parties. Efforts will also be made to create an enabling environment for women to exercise their reproductive rights and choices freely, so as to contain the population growth.

3.8.35 Under RCH care, steps for prevention and treatment of gynaecological problems including infertility, menstrual disorders, screening and treatment of cancers especially that of breast and uterine cervix etc. will also be taken up. Also, the traditional health care, especially practised by women, will be encouraged through programmes of Indian Systems of Medicine. Gender-sensitive initiatives that address the sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS and other sexual and reproductive health issues, will be attended to on a priority basis. The health education material, being brought out as part of IEC material for family planning, will be made gender sensitive for both men and women. Special efforts will be made to disseminate information to women, especially in rural and tribal areas on the available reproductive health services. Efforts to promote participation of men in planned parenthood in increasing acceptance of vasectomy and active co-operation of men in STD/RTI Prevention Control, will receive priority attention.


3.8.36 To tackle the problems of micro-nutrient deficiencies and protein energy malnutrition (PEM), the primary focus will be on the `at-risk groups' who are living below the poverty line and also on those who are `nutritionally vulnerable', particularly, the women/mothers and children. In this direction, special efforts will be made through the Special Action Plan of 1998 to universalise the on-going supplementary feeding programmes viz., Special Nutrition Programme (SNP) for pre-school children and expectant and nursing mothers and Mid-Day Meals (MDM) for school going children. These feeding programmes will also be reinforced with necessary support services like health check-up, immunisation, ante-natal care, health and nutrition education and awareness etc. The Ninth Plan will also incorporate a special package of services to prevent/control the micro-nutrient deficiencies of Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine, which are extremely important from the point of view the health consequences on women/mothers and children. Further details are available under the Chapter on `Food and Nutrition Security'.

Education and Training

3.8.37 Education, being the most powerful instrument for empowering women, assumes special priority in the Ninth Plan. Efforts in the Ninth Plan will, therefore, be target-oriented in fulfilling the goal of `Education for Women's Equality' as laid down in the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and revised in 1992. Towards this, special attention will be paid to the already identified low female literacy pockets and to the women and the girl children belonging to the socially disadvantaged groups viz. SC, STs, OBCs, Minorities, Disabled, etc. as they still lag behind the rest of the population with the lowest literacy rates ranging between 5 and 10 per cent, while the national average of female literacy stands at 39.3 per cent in 1991.

3.8.38 While the Universal Primary Education continues to be a priority area in the Ninth Plan, all out efforts will be made to ensure both easy and equal access to education for women and girls through the commitments of the Special Action Plan (1998) to achieve total eradication of illiteracy. Besides, steps will be initiated to eliminate gender discrimination in the admissions; remove gender bias and stereo-types in the curricula, text books and learning material; create a gender - sensitive educational system; promote gender sensitization of teachers on a regular basis; appoint more women teachers at primary level (at least 50%); reduce drop-out rates and increase enrolment and retention rates of girl children through special incentives like free supply of uniforms and text books, mid-day meals, scholarships, flexible school timings and attached hostels and creches; and improve the quality of education, facilitating life-long learning through the correspondence courses, distance learning and self-study programmes for women and girls who fall out of the formal system of schooling. The special package announced for the Girl Child on 15 August, 1997 also revolves around the very same theme of educating and empowering the girl child living below the poverty line with adequate financial support till she completes higher secondary education or gets equipped with necessary skills to earn her livelihood. More details are given in the later part of this Chapter under the section `Child Development'.

3.8.39 Vocationalisation of secondary education and vocational training for women will receive high priority as one of the ultimate goals of empowering women is to make them economically independent and self-reliant. In this context, the existing network of National Vocational Training Centre (NVTC), Regional Vocational Training Centres (RVTCs), Pre-Vocational Training Centres (PVTCs), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and Craft Training Centres (CTCs) will be further strengthened with necessary improvements in the infra-structural facilities for introduction of up-coming trades, hostels etc. Efforts will also be made to encourage eligible women/girls with suitable incentives to join vocational education/training so that the facilities available at these exclusive Training Institutions will be utilised optimally. Introduction of part-time and short-term courses will also be considered to meet the special needs and timings of working women/girls. Efforts will be made to encourage women and girls with necessary incentives to opt for the emerging areas of technical education such as electronics, computer systems and applications, bio-engineering, bio-technology, food processing, fabric designing, beauty culture, communications, media etc, which have high employment potential.

3.8.40 Further, to encourage more and more girls to enter into the mainstream of higher education and thus ensure fulfillment of the commitment of `Education for Women's Equality', the Ninth Plan envisages to institute plans for providing free education for girls upto college levels, including professional courses, so as to better empower women.

Work and Employment

3.8.41 There is an urgent need to revive the special project of `Gender Sensitization of 1991 Census' to capture women's work in the informal sector in a more substantial way in the coming Census of 2001 AD. In this regard, there is a need to consider redefining the `concept of work' and provide conceptual clarity to the `definition of work' by the Census and NSSO. The Ninth Plan also envisages the preparation of Satellite Accounts to highlight Women's Work through appropriate methodologies,consistent with the National Accounts.

3.8.42 Keeping in view the ultimate objective of fulfilling the 'Right to work for every citizen', special efforts will be made to generate gainful employment through promotion/expansion of both wage and self employment opportunities for women so as to make all potential women economically independent and self-reliant. In this context, the ongoing training- cum – employment – cum - income-generation programmes viz. Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM), Nehru Rozgar Yojana (NRY), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY), Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana (PMRY), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Indira Mahila Yojana (IMY), Support for Training and Employment (STEP), NORAD-assisted Training-cum-Production Centres (popularly known as NORAD), Socio-Economic Programme (SEP) etc. will be expanded to create more and more of employment-cum-income generation opportunities and cover as many women as possible living below the poverty line. In these efforts, priority will be given to female-headed households and women in extreme/abject poverty

3.8.43 As in the past, there will be a special focus on women in agriculture and its allied sectors as they are in majority (89.5%) and form the major stock of all the agricultural operations. The programmes for training women in soil conservation, social forestry, dairy development and other occupations allied to agriculture like horticulture, livestock including small animal husbandry, poultry, fisheries, etc. need to be expanded to reach the benefits to women workers in proportion to their number. Simultaneously, the extension services will be strengthened to cover a larger number of women, keeping in mind women's role as producers. The number of women extension workers, especially the Farm Extension Workers, will be increased to assist rural women to take advantage of various training programmes.

3.8.44 Efforts will also be made to identify the traditional sectors that are shrinking due to advancement of technology, market shifts and changes in the economic policies; introduce programmes to re-train/upgrade the skills of the displaced women to take up jobs in the new and expanding areas of employment and formulate appropriate policies and programmes to promote opportunities for wage/self-employment in traditional sectors like khadi and village industries, handicrafts, handlooms, sericulture, small scale and cottage industries and absorb those displaced women. Flexibility in the labour/employment market for women will be given adequate weightage through various Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAE).

3.8.45 Women in the Informal Sector, who account for more than 90 per cent, will receive special attention during the Ninth Plan especially with regard to their working conditions, as the same continued to be precarious without any legislative safeguards. Attempts will, therefore, be made to extend important labour legislations to the informal sector so as to ensure basic minimum working conditions for women. In this direction, special efforts will be made to ensure that laws relating to both minimum and `equal pay for equal work' for women, shall be strictly implemented. While formulating policies and programmes for the betterment of women in the informal sector, the un-attended recommendations of the National Commission on Self-employed Women and Women in the Informal Sector (1988) and also the findings/results of the Fourth Economic Census (now in progress), revealing the latest trends and patterns of women's employment in the Informal Sector, will be taken into consideration.

3.8.46 The Ninth Plan recognises the need for a conducive Credit Policy to increase the access for women to credit through appropriate institutional mechanisms like Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), National Agricultural Bank for Rural Development (NABARD), Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), Women Co-operatives/SHGs and the other financial institutions. In this context, expansion of the activities of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) needs special attention. Efforts will also be made to learn lessons from the success stories of various voluntary organisations who have already established their credentials in the field of credit and encourage them to expand their activities both within and outside their States. The Ninth Plan also envisages all States/UTs to be equipped with Women's Development Corporations (WDCs) to provide both `forward' and `backward' linkages of credit and marketing facilities to women entrepreneurs, besides being catalysts. In this context, the Ninth Plan also envisages to set up a 'Development Bank for Women Entrepreneurs' in the small scale and tiny sectors.

3.8.47 To increase the share of women in factories and industrial establishments, efforts will be made to remove the existing traditional bias that women are good only in stereo-type/feminine jobs and encourage women to equip themselves with necessary professional/ vocational skills and compete with men to make an entry into such areas. Simultaneously, efforts will be put into effect to ensure that the employers fulfil their legal obligations towards their women workers in extending child care facilities, maternity benefits, special leave, protection from occupational hazards, allowing formation of women workers' associations/unions, legal protection / aid etc. In this context, efforts will also be made to gender sensitize the Trade Unions to play the role of a watch-dog with regard to protection of women's rights/interests.

3.8.48 With regard to Women in Services, the Ninth Plan recognises the need to initiate affirmative action to ensure at least a minimum of 30 per cent of reservation for women in services in the Public Sector as against the present low representation of 13.8 per cent in 1997. Efforts will also be made to ensure up-ward mobility for women in services. To encourage women, special concessions and relaxations, like multiple entries, enhancement of upper age limit, need to be extended to ensure adequate representation of women in services in the public sector. For women to join the Services in a big way, support services like child care facilities viz. creches/day care centres at the work places/educational institutions and homes for the aged and the disabled will be expanded with improved facilities. Also, Hostels for Working women will be expanded to promote their mobility in the employment market.


3.8.49 As the representation of women in the decision-making levels has a direct bearing on all the affirmative actions directed towards their well-being and empowerment, every effort will be made to ensure that women are in adequate numbers at the decision-making levels. To this effect, women will be encouraged with special coaching facilities to compete in the competitive examinations which provide them a direct entry into the path of decision-making levels. Similarly, there is also a need for women to be active in public life and take part in the political decision-making process, as political decisions/ political will in favour of women can influence a lot in creating an enabling environment for women to empower themselves. Towards this, efforts will be made to expedite action to legislate reservation of not less than 1/3 of the total seats for women both in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.

3.8.50 As economic empowerment of women is mainly related to their participation in decision-making with regard to raising and distribution of resources i.e. income, investments and expenditures at all levels, special efforts will be made to enhance their capacity to earn besides enlarging their access to and control/ ownership of family/community assets. With access to economic assets, women will be encouraged to take up self-employment through various entrepreneurial ventures which are more convenient and allow them to play their dual role, within and outside home, effectively.

Poverty Alleviation

3.8.51 As women are critical to the process of moving their families out of poverty, the present policies and programmes of poverty alleviation will be redesigned, if called for, to make them more responsive to the special needs of women in abject/extreme poverty. As a first step in this direction, the Ninth Plan proposes to revamp TRYSEM in its design, curriculum and method of training and thus improve the training and employment opportunities for women in poverty. Further, a special mechanism will be evolved to bring forth a closer integration amongst DWCRA, IRDP and TRYSEM to extend greater access to financial assistance and training to Women's Groups under DWCRA. Further, as the woman's capacity to work, her health, knowledge and skill endowment are often the only resources for the poor households to fall back upon for their survival, efforts will be made to ensure that a minimum of 30 to 40 per cent of the benefits flow to women from all the existing poverty alleviation programmes, both rural and urban. Further, the social security programmes launched in 1995 will give a special focus on women so that the social assistance thus received will form the survival base for women in extreme poverty.

Care and Protection

3.8.52 Welfare and rehabilitative services will continue to be extended for women in need of care and protection viz. the disabled/deserted/widowed/destitute and women in difficult circumstances etc. Special programmes will be designed for both social and economic rehabilitation of Devadasis, Basavis, Jogins, sex-workers, beggars etc. The plight of those young women and girls, who migrate to the cities in search of jobs and later become victims of various circumstances and social/moral danger, will receive special attention during the Ninth Plan.


3.8.53 Considering the strong impact of environmental factors on the sustenance and livelihood of women, special efforts will be made to ensure/encourage participation of women in the conservation of environment and the control of environmental degradation through programmes of social forestry, afforestation and wasteland development etc. Accordingly, necessary provisions will be made to reflect women's perspectives in the policies and programmes for the management of eco-system and natural resources. Further, emphasis will be laid on the use of science and technology to solve environment-related problems like energy and fuel conservation along with water conservation to ease women's work in and outside the home. Efforts will also be made for gender sensitization of forest staff and local communities to involve women's groups in the planning and management of forest conservation and utilisation of forest produce.

Science and Technology

3.8.54 Application of Science and Technology (S and T) is vital for the advancement of women as it reduces household drudgery and provides better working conditions for women, particularly, in rural areas. Therefore, participation of women/women scientists in S and T activities will be encouraged in the Ninth Plan at all stages viz. - design, development/ adaptation of alternative technologies, including upgradation of traditional technologies and identification of those activities for which improved technologies would be of greater benefit. The criteria for selection of technology for women will include relief from drudgery - associated tasks, time saving, increased output and productivity, improved hygiene, energy efficiency etc. The Ninth Plan, therefore, accords high priority to research and development (R and D) for exploitation of locally available indigenous alternative sources of energy for use in the women-related household activities. To undertake these types of R and D activities, more and more girl students will be encouraged to get into science streams with attractive incentives.

Media and Communication

3.8.55 The strategy for Media in the Ninth Plan will be a combination of efforts to confront/put an end to the negative and stereotyped portrayal and depiction of women and girls, besides using all types of mass media and communication resources to change the mindset of the people and the attitudes/behavioural patterns of people through information, advocacy and analysis. To this effect, there is an urgent need for adopting a Media Policy with laid down prescriptions of `do's' and `don'ts' in support of the constitutional guarantee of upholding women's dignity.

Violence against Women

3.8.56 To deal with the increasing problem of violence against women and the girl child within and outside the family, a comprehensive approach will be adopted through a review of all the existing women-specific legislations and remove the weak links through necessary amendments; effective implementation of the existing legislation with strong punitive measures; gender-sensitisation of the enforcement machinery to be prompt and strict in handling the perpetrators of such violence; involvement of community and the voluntary organisations to act as the informants; and rehabilitation of, and compensation for, the victims of such violence. Towards this, efforts will be made to encourage all the States/UTs to initiate annual reviews on the situation of violence against women both at the State and District levels, on the lines of the annual reviews at the national level. Setting-up/strengthening of Women's Cells in the approved Police Stations, family courts, mahila courts, counselling centres, legal aid centres and nyaya panchayats, will be attempted as part of the intensive efforts to curb violence against women. Along with these, there will be widespread dissemination of information on women's rights, human rights and other legal entitlements for women, through the specially designed Legal Literacy Manuals brought out in 1992. Efforts will also be made to include legal literacy in the curriculum of schools, colleges, and other Training Institutes.

3.8.57 The other measures include strengthening of National/State level Commissions for Women; appointment of a Commissioner for Women's Rights who would act as a Public Defender on behalf of women; mobilisation of voluntary action for gathering public support for the victims of violence including counselling, relief and rehabilitation; and building up of such an environment where women and girls can come forward to report to the police about the acts of violence against them, without any fear of reprisal.

Gender Sensitization

3.8.58 Keeping in view the Ninth Plan commitment of empowering women, vigorous efforts will be made to accelerate the process of societal reorientation towards creating a gender-just society. The focus in this regard will be on both men and women within the family and within the community to change their negative attitudes and eliminate all types of discrimination against women and the girl child. In this process, both governmental and non-governmental organisations are expected to play a big role in utilising both mass media and other traditional means. Gender sensitization will be institutionalised within the government training systems through induction as well as refresher courses. Specially designed gender sensitization programmes will be conducted on a regular basis with special focus on the State functionaries viz. the executive, legislative, judicial and enforcement wings of all governmental agencies. Other initiatives in this direction include generating societal awareness to gender issues; review of curriculum and educational materials leading to the removal of all references derogatory to the dignity of women; use of different forms of mass media to communicate special messages relating to women's equality and empowerment.

Legislative Support

3.8.59 Special efforts will be made to enforce the existing legislations effectively to safeguard the interests of women and girls as the Ninth Plan identifies laxity in the implementation of various legislations, especially the women-specific, viz. - The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (as amended upto 1986); The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 (as amended and retitled in 1986); Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986 etc. The findings of the recent review of all the existing legislations, both women-specific and women-related, undertaken by the National Commission for Women will be examined to plug the existing loopholes through necessary amendments and enact new legislations, if necessary, to make the legislations as effective instruments in safeguarding the rights of women and the girl-child and ensuring gender justice.


3.8.60 Human development being the major thrust in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97), it sought to ensure that the flow of benefits from other developmental sectors did not bypass women and the same was monitored with a special vigil in the three core sectors of health, education and employment. To this effect, the special mechanism of Monitoring the 27 Beneficiary oriented Programmes for Women was continued in the Eighth Plan. It envisaged that the women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in the country's developmental process. This approach of the Eighth Plan marked a shift from `development' to `empowerment' of women. Achievements in both the women-related and the women-specific sectors during the Eighth Plan are listed below:

3.8.61 Improvement in the health status of women received high priority during the Eighth Plan. The erstwhile programme of Maternal and Child Health services was recast as the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM) programme and launched in 72 districts during 1992-93. The same was further expanded to cover 466 districts by the end of the Eighth Plan. Under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP), the TT vaccination coverage of pregnant women increased from 40 per cent in 1985-86 to 76.4 per cent in 1996-97 and 80.93 percent in 1997-98. Under the Prophylaxis scheme, 119.59 lakh pregnant women were provided with Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablets during 1996-97 and 83.59 lakh women during 1997-98. Around 2.11 lakh Dais were trained during 1996-97. Under CSSM training, 22715 medical officers and 92365 para medical workers were trained till September, 1996. As many as 1022 First Referral Units (FRUs) were identified for Emergency Obstetric Care in 5 States viz. - Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan till 1997. These services of child survival and safe motherhood, as revealed by various evaluation studies, have contributed significantly to the reduction of Infant Mortality Rate from 79 to 72; Crude Birth Rate from 29.2 to 27.5 and Crude Death Rate from 10 to 9.0 during 1992 to 1996. An extensive network of 2424 Community Health Centres, 22,962 Primary Health Centres and 1,36,815 village level Sub-Centres was in actual operation by 1997 to extend primary health care services including safe motherhood and other family planning services to women in rural areas.

3.8.62 The National Nutrition Policy (NNP), adopted in 1993, made a commitment to reduce the iron deficiency anaemia amongst pregnant women, nutritional blindness due to Vitamin `A' deficiency and iodine deficiency disorders. To reduce prevalence of anaemia in pregnancy, the National Anaemia Prophylaxis programmes of iron and folic acid tablets distribution to all the pregnant women was initiated in 1972. Alternative strategies to control anaemia in pregnancy are being taken up as part of the RCH initiative. To combat the problem of blindness due to Vitamin `A' deficiency in children, administration of a massive dose of Vitamin `A' once in 6 months to all children between 1-5 years of age was included in the National Prophylaxis Programmes against Nutritional Blindness. In order to achieve further improvement in Vitamin `A' status of children, a two-pronged initiative of improving the coverage of massive dose of Vitamin `A' administration and nutrition education for improving the intake of Vitamin `A' rich foods, is being taken.

3.8.63 The National Goitre Control Programme, initiated in 1962, makes available good quality iodised salt in areas of high Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). The implementation of the programme in the initial three decades was sub-optimal and IDD prevalence remained essentially unattended to. Further, supplementary nutrition to the expectant and nursing mothers continued through the universalised ICDS programme and about 3 million mothers were receiving supplementary nutrition by the end of the Eighth Plan. Special efforts were also made to impart nutrition education to mothers and women through the programmes of ICDS and Integrated Nutrition Education and thus create nutritional awareness amongst women/mothers. Above all, the emphasis has been on the removal of the inequitous distribution of food and discriminatory feeding practices against women and the girl child.

3.8.64 In the field of Education, emphasis was laid on increasing the participation of women in the educational process. Accordingly, efforts were made towards Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) which resulted in significant improvement in the enrolment of girls in schools and reduction in the drop-out rates at all levels.

3.8.65 Under the Total Literacy Campaign (TLC), 422 districts have been covered by the end of March, 1998 with a total coverage of 68.57 lakh beneficiaries, of whom 41.14 lakh were women. Another programme, viz., Non-formal Education (NFE), which provided education comparable to formal schooling to those who remained outside the formal schooling system, benefited 24.81 lakh girls at one lakh exclusive NFE Centres for girls by the end of 1995-96. The same has increased to 29.80 lakh girls by March, 1998.

3.8.66 Mahila Samakhya, a programme for women's equality and empowerment, operated in 35 districts of 7 States viz Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Assam. This programme addressed many issues like drinking water, health services, managing non-formal education, provision of pre-school centres/ creche facilities etc. The village women of Mahila Samakhya were managing 529 NFE Centres and 241 ECCE Centres also.

3.8.67 The programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education which was launched in 1995 in 40 Low Female Literacy Blocks, provided a special boost to enrolment, retention and attendance of girls besides leaving an impact on the nutritional status of the girl children in primary classes. To extend support for SC/ST girls to continue their education beyond the middle school level, the number and the intake capacity of the girls' hostels were increased during the Eighth Plan by opening 602 additional hostels for 51299 SC girls and 261 hostels for 10440 ST girls. During 1997-98, 78 more SC hostels for 12857 girls and 102 ST hostels for the benefit of 10200 girls were sanctioned.

3.8.68 In line with the Eighth Plan strategy of achieving near full employment, efforts were made to enhance employment and income generation activities for women under various sectors viz. agriculture, dairying, animal husbandry, khadi and village industries, small scale industries, handlooms, handicrafts etc. Since 89.5 per cent of rural women were engaged in the agriculture sector, efforts were made to enhance their skills in agricultural operations and extension work.

3.8.69 Special programmes like `Women in Agriculture' were launched in 1993 to train women farmers having small and marginal holdings in agriculture and its allied programmes like animal husbandry, dairying, horticulture, fisheries, bee-keeping etc. Since inception of the scheme, 210 Farm Women's Groups were constituted and training was provided to 4200 Farm Women in 7 selected States. Another programme called Training of Women in Agriculture with DANIDA and DUTCH assistance imparted training to 1.89 lakh women. To assist women in agro-based industries, 6866 Women's Cooperatives were formed with 100 per cent financial assistance from the Government. Under the programme of Operation Flood, rural women involved in dairy development on cooperative lines were given training in various activities relating to milk production, preservation and co-operative group formation. By the end of the Eighth Five Year Plan, 74,300 Dairy Co-operative Societies were organised. The percentage of women members has risen from about 14 per cent, a decade ago, to about 20 per cent in 1997 (approx. (19 lakh women members). By the end of 1996, there were 8,171 exclusive Women Cooperative Societies (non-credit) with a total membership of 6.93 lakh women. Women Milk Co-operatives were leading in many States especially in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

3.8.70 The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) took several measures to generate more employment opportunities for women and thus increase their capacity to earn. Of the total 60.75 lakh persons employed under various programmes of KVIC, 46 per cent beneficiaries were women. An exclusive national level Training Institute for Women was also set up at Pune during the Eighth Plan. Two schemes viz. Prime Minister's Rojgar Yojana (PMRY) and Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) in the Small Scale Industries sector, were designed to help women to develop entrepreneurial skills and ventures of small scale enterprises for self-employment. Under PMRY, 85012 projects during the Eighth Plan period and 28,467 projects during 1997-98 were sanctioned exclusively for women. Under EDP, 8828 women during Eighth Plan and 3714 women during 1997-98 received training.

3.8.71 Training and upgradation of skills for women in the most modern and upcoming trades received high priority. The National Vocational Training Institute at NOIDA (UP) and the 10 Regional Vocational Training Institutes for women imparted basic and advanced level vocational training with an annual turnover of 1864 candidates. By February, 1998, there were 223 women's Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and 235 women's wings in general/private ITIs with a total sanctioned strength of 36,114 seats. This included the expansion of 66 women's ITIs and 102 Women's wings in General ITIs during the Eighth Plan. Accordingly, the number of women trainees also rose from 9316 in 1991 to 16,265 in 1998. During 1997-98, 93 additional ITIs for women were sanctioned with a total capacity of 15908 women.


In line with the Eight Plan Strategy of providing ‘Near full – employment’, the Government has reset its priorities to accord special emphasis to keep women gainfully engaged through employment cum income generation activities. The ultimate objective of all these efforts is to make women economically independent and self-reliant. Some of the important initiatives thus undertaken in this direction include launching of programmes viz., ‘Work and Wage’, ‘ Learn while you earn’, ‘Credit for Entrepreneurial / Self Employment Ventures’, Employment Guaranty Schemes etc. both in rural and urban areas. While programmes like IMY (Indira Mahila Yojana), DWCRA (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas), STEP (Support for Training and Employment), TEPC ( Training cum Employment cum Production Centres) popularly known as NORAD are some of the important women-specific employment cum training programmes, there exist a few more programmes like, IRDP (Integrated Rural Development Programme), TRYSEM ( Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment Programmes), JRY ( Jawahar Rozgar Yojana), NRY( (Nehru Rozgar Yojana), PMRY (Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana) which extend 30 to 40 % reservation of benefits for women.

3.8.72 To alleviate extreme poverty amongst rural women, programmes like Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Jawahar Rojgar Yojana (JRY), Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM) and Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), expanded their activities in the area of generating gainful wage and self-employment opportunities, with 30-40 per cent of benefits reserved for women. During the Eighth Plan, the coverage of women under IRDP remained at 33 per cent with the number of beneficiaries touching 32.57 lakh between 1992 and 1997. During 1997-98, the coverage of women under IRDP has reached 0.06 lakhs i.e.34.3 percent of total coverage. Of the total employment generated since inception under JRY during 1989 to 1997, the share of women was 14582.38 lakh man-days, which works out to 25.04 per cent of the total employment generated during that period. During 1997-98, the scheme of Women under JRY has gone up to 1116.71 lakh man-days representing 28.7 per cent of total employment. About 16.30 lakh women were covered under TRYSEM since the inception of the programme in 1979. DWCRA-an exclusive programme for the development of women and children in rural areas - was extended to all the districts in the country during the Plan period with the sole objective of bringing about a change in the socio-economic status of poor women in rural areas through income generating activities and improvement of their access to services like health, nutrition, education, safe drinking water etc. During the Eighth Plan, 1.36 lakh Women's Self-Help Groups (SHGS) were formed benefiting 21.82 lakh women. In 1997-98, 33032 additional SHGS were formed.

3.8.73 In the urban areas, poverty alleviation programmes like Nehru Rojgar Yojana (NRY), Urban Basic Services for the Poor (UBSP) and Prime Minister's Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme (PMIUPEP), contributed a lot to improve the quality of life of women slum dwellers. Under NRY, women were given preferential treatment for skill upgradation and were provided assistance for setting up micro-enterprises, wage employment through construction of public assets and shelter upgradation.

3.8.74 Similarly, women and child beneficiaries received high priority under the programme of UBSP which sought to provide an integrated package of health care services for mother and child, supplementary nutrition, non-formal/pre-school/adult education; assistance to the handicapped and the destitute. By March, 1997, 5982 Neighbourhood Development Committees comprising primarily the urban poor women were set up in 360 towns for extending basic services to 82 lakh beneficiaries. Similarly, women also received benefits under the Prime Minister's Integrated Urban Poverty Eradication Programme (PMIUPEP) which envisaged a holistic approach to eradicate urban poverty by creating a conducive environment for improving the quality of life of the urban poor. During the Eighth Plan, 10528 cases of self-employment and 18004 cases of shelter upgradation were approved, besides setting up of 1362 Thrift and Credit Societies; 303 Community Kendras, 24698 Neighbouring Groups; 1280 Neighbourhood Committees and 208 Community Development Societies. This programme was replaced by Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana in December, 1997.

3.8.75 Under the National Social Assistance Programmes, special recognition was given to woman-specific needs and a National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) was launched in August, 1995. The NMBS was exclusively aimed at extending financial assistance of Rs.300/- to pregnant women for the first two live births. Likewise, under the programme of National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), elderly women of 65 years and above with no regular means of subsistence also received the benefit of old age pension to the extent of Rs.75 per month. Under another scheme of National Family Benefit, women could receive financial assistance of Rs.5000/- to 10,000/- in the event of the death of the prime bread winner of the family.

3.8.76 The scheme of S and T Projects for Women, started in 1983, continued to promote Research and Development (R and D) and adoption of technology for reducing the household drudgery of women and thus improve their quality of life, working conditions and opportunities for gainful employment especially in the backward rural areas and urban slums. Of a total of 289 S and T projects, which received financial support during the Eighth Plan, 137 projects were meant for women. During 1997-98, 30 additional projects were sanctioned exclusively for women.

3.8.77 A large number of innovative programmes to supplement and complement the general development programmes were implemented in the women and child development sector. They include training-cum-employment-cum-income generation programmes, welfare and support services and awareness generation/ gender sensitization programmes. Besides, several policy initiatives were also undertaken in empowering women. Under the programme of `Support for Training and Employment', a total of 44 projects received financial assistance to extend training and employment on a sustainable basis to 2.59 lakh women during the Eighth Plan and 6 more projects during 1997-98 to benefit 53335 women in the traditional sectors of dairying, animal husbandry, sericulture, handlooms, handicrafts etc. Under the programme of Training- cum-Production Centres with NORAD assistance, 693 projects during the Eighth Plan and 169 projects during 1997-98 were sanctioned to train 0.78 lakh and 0.30 lakh women/girls, respectively in the modern and newly emerging trades. Under the scheme of Condensed Courses of Education and Vocational Training, 5822 training courses were conducted to benefit 1.46 lakh women and girls during the Eighth Plan and 197 courses to benefit 0.15 lakh women/girls were conducted in 1997-98. Under the Socio- Economic Programme, more than 2452 Units were set up during the Eighth Plan to undertake a wide variety of income generating activities for the benefit of 21000 needy women like widows, destitutes, disabled etc. during the Eighth Plan.


The Department of Women and Child Development being the National Machinery for Empowering Women in the country is made responsible for mainstreaming women into national development by raising their overall status on par with that of men. The Department, in its nodal capacity, formulates policies, plans and programmes, and enacts / amends legislations affecting women and guides/co-ordinates/ streamlines the efforts of both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations working to improve the lot of women in the country. The programmes of the Department include – continuing education and training ; employment and income generation ; welfare and support services and gender sensitisation and awareness generation. These programmes of innovative nature play the role of being both supplementary and complementary to the other general development programmes in the sectors of health, education, labour and employment, rural and urban development etc.

3.8.78 The schemes of - Hostels for Working Women, Creches for Children of Working/Ailing Mothers, National Creche Fund and Short Stay Homes for Women and Girls extend support services for women. The scheme of Hostels for Working Women provide safe and cheap accommodation to working women/girls who come to cities/towns in search of employment. During the Eighth Plan, 178 additional hostels were sanctioned benefiting 15532 women and their 1586 dependent children. In 1997-98, 23 more hostels were sanctioned benefiting 2269 women. This has brought the total number of hostels sanctioned since inception of the programme in 1973 to 811 benefiting about 57,000 working women. The scheme of Short-Stay Homes continued to provide temporary shelter and rehabilitation to the women and girls in social and moral danger. Upto March 1997, a total of 361 SSHs were sanctioned, benefiting 10830 women/girls, of which 199 new Homes were sanctioned during the Eighth Plan period. Details of the other two schemes viz., Creches and National Creche Fund, are given under the section dealing with `Children'.

3.8.79   The setting up of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) in 1993 fulfilled a long awaited initiative of having a national level mechanism to meet the credit needs of poor and assetless women in the informal sector. Till March 1997, a total credit worth of Rs.35.14 crore was sanctioned and a sum of Rs.20.51 crore disbursed to 1.91 lakh women through the medium of 170 NGOs. About 60000 women received credit during 1997-98. Right from its inception, RMK maintained a recovery rate of 92-95 per cent. The programme of Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY), launched in 1993, promoted self-reliance amongst rural women by encouraging thrift and savings. For a maximum deposit of Rs.300/- with a lock- in-period of one year, the Government provided an incentive of Rs.75/-. By the end of March 1997, a total of 2.46 crore MSY Accounts were opened with a total deposit of Rs. 265.10 crore.


RMK, an innovative venture to facilitate credit support / micro-financing to poor and assetless women struggling in the informal sector, works through the medium of NGOs as its channelising agencies for identification of borrowers, delivery of credit support and also recovery. While the lending rate of RMK both for short and medium-term loans is 8% per annum to NGOs , the ultimate borrowers or their Self Help Groups pay 12% per annum. Till the end of Eighth Plan in 1997 RMK has extended credit worth Rs.35.14 crores through 170 NGOs benefiting about 1.91 lakh women all over the country. In addition RMK also supports its NGO partners, to form Women’s Thrift and Credit Societies, which are popularly known as Self Help Groups

3.8.80 Yet another major initiative undertaken during the Eighth Plan was launching of Indira Mahila Yojana (IMY) advocating social empowerment through awareness generation and conscientisation programmes and economic empowerment through income generation activities on a sustained basis. The scheme was launched in 1995 in 200 ICDS blocks on a pilot basis. By July, 1998, 260 Indira Mahila Block Samities (IMBSs) had been registered out of which 140 IMBS were registered during the year 1997-98. Till March, 1998, 28000 Self-Help Groups of women were formed with services of both income generation and awareness generation, of which 21,000 women's groups were formed in 1997-98.

3.8.81 An integrated media campaign projecting a positive image of both women and the girl child through electronic media was undertaken extensively through a large number of TV spots, quickies, documentary films etc. Radio programmes with positive messages about the girl child and women were also broadcast on a regular basis. The Central Social Welfare Board organised more than 6000 Awareness Generation camps during 1992-96 to make 2.10 lakh rural women conscious of their rights and privileges, besides imparting knowledge about community health and hygiene, technology application, environment, etc.

3.8.82 The National Commission for Women, a statutory body set up in 1992 to safeguard the rights and interests of women, reviewed both women-specific and women-related legislations, investigated into thousands of individual complaints/ atrocities and initiated remedial action wherever possible. It also set up Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats and extended speedy justice to approximately 7000 women. The other issues taken up by the Commission during the Plan period included welfare of women prisoners and under-trials languishing in jails; women and children involved in the sex trade; reservation for women in Parliament and State Legislatures, Anti-Arrack movements etc.


NCW, set up in 1992, gained credentials of many success stories in the areas of – offering pre-litigated counselling to aggrieved women, attending to / investigating into the individual complaints received from all over the country, looking into the special problems of services, women / child sex workers, women in custody / jails, women in mental asylums, women with disabilities, deserted women etc. It also reviews both women-specific and women-related legislations and advises the Government to bring forth necessary amendments from time to time. It also moves around the whole country to enquire/investigate problems of women belonging to socially and economically disadvantaged groups, especially those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Open Adalats (Public Hearings) is the style adopted by the Commission to hear the individual grievances and to pay personal attention to the women in need. This special feature of the Commission has reached the judiciary to women at their door-step.

3.8.83 To sum up, the major policy initiatives undertaken in favour of women during the Eighth Plan included setting up of a National Commission for Women in 1992 to safeguard the interests of women;setting up of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh in 1993 for women to meet the credit needs of poor


  • Setting up of National Commission for Women in 1992 to safeguard the interests of women
  • Setting up of Rashtriya Mahila Kosh in 1993 to meet the credit needs of poor and assetless women
  • Adoption of the National Nutritional Policy in 1993 to fulfil the constitutional commitment of improving the nutritional status of people in general and in particular that of the children, adolescent girls, expectant and nursing mothers
  • Launching of the scheme of Mahila Samriddhi Yojana in 1993 which sought to empower women by institutionalizing their savings so that they could have greater control over household resources ( now being revamped)
  • Launching of Indira Mahila Yojana in 1995, advocating an integrated approach for women’s empowerment through Self Help Groups
  • Proposal for setting up of National Resource Centre of Women (in progress)
  • Formulation of a draft of National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (1996)

and assetless women; adoption of the National Nutrition Policy in 1993 to fulfil the Constitutional commitment of improving the nutritional status of the people; launching of the scheme of Mahila Samriddhi Yojana in 1993 which sought to empower women by institutionalizing their savings so that they could have greater control over household resources; launching of Indira Mahila Yojana in 1995 advocating an integrated approach for women's empowerment, a proposal to set up a National Resource Centre for Women which is in progress; and the formulation of a draft of National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (1996).


3.8.84 Children are our first priority not because they are the most vulnerable, but because the foundations for life-long learning and human development are laid in the most crucial years of early childhood. This is the time when, even a small positive change yields long-term social benefits and even a temporary deprivation inflicts life-long damage. Thus, the opportunities of early childhood development determine the present and the future human resource development of a nation.

3.8.85 The child population (0-14 years), as per the 1991 census, accounts for 319.6 million (37.8%), which include 153.85 million female children. Of the total child population, 18.9 million (5.9%) are below 1 year (infants); 38.1 million (11.9%) are in the age-group of 1-2 years (toddlers); 73.0 million (22.8%) are in the age-group of 3-5 years (pre-school); and another 189.6 million (59.4%) are in the age group of 6 - 14 years. While the children as a whole, require special attention of the Government, the three age-groups viz. the infants, toddlers and pre-school children require individual attention because of their age-specific needs.

3.8.86 Realising the fact that the children have neither a voice nor a political constituency, the Constitution of India laid down certain special safeguards to ensure their welfare, protection and development. While Article 15(3) empowers the State to make any special provision in favour of children, Article 24 prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in any factory or mine or other hazardous occupations; Articles 39 (e) and (f) lay down that the State shall direct its policy in such a manner that the tender age of children is not abused and children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and childhood is protected against exploitation and moral and material abandonment; and Article 45 provides for free and compulsory education for all children upto the age of 14 years.

3.8.87 The well-being of children has been a priority and also an integral part of the country's developmental planning, launched in 1951. In the initial years, the major responsibility of developing child care services had primarily rested with the voluntary sector, headed by the Central Social Welfare Board, set up in 1953. Later, the child welfare services were concentrated in the sectors of health, education, nutrition etc. Important measures include maternal and child health services (MCH), primary education, supplementary feeding for pre-school and school-going children etc. Just as in the case of women, the Seventies also marked a shift in approach in respect of children from `welfare' to `development'. It was during this period that a National Policy for Children was adopted (1974) and a programme called Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) was launched in 1975 with an integrated approach to extend a package of six basic services viz. health check-up, immunisation, referral services, supplementary feeding, pre-school education and health and nutrition education for children upto 6 years and expectant and nursing mothers. The Eighties saw an effective consolidation and expansion of programmes started in the earlier Plans. The National Policy of Health adopted in 1983 set certain specific targets like bringing down the high rates of infant and child mortality and Universalisation of Immunisation etc. by the year 2002 A.D. The National Policy on Education (1986) emphasised universal enrolment and retention of children, especially the girl children. The Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) enacted in 1986 repealed the then existing Children Act, to deal effectively with the problem of juvenile delinquents/vagrants and provide a framework for handling such children. The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, enacted in 1986, was followed by the adoption of a National Policy on Child Labour in 1987.

3.8.88 The early Nineties continued with the major strategy of promoting early childhood development through convergence of available services in different sectors and the ICDS continued as the single major national programme to promote early childhood development services. Special programmes were also launched for the welfare and rehabilitation of the Working Children and for other children in need of care and protection. A programme of Universal Immunisation was also launched to protect children from six major vaccine preventable diseases viz. Diptheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, measles and childhood tuberculosis. The same was further strengthened and expanded to provide universal coverage during this period.


3.8.89 While crucial indicators like infant and child mortality rates, school enrolment ratios, drop-out rates and levels of mal-nutrition have shown significant improvement in the status of children as a result of the implementation of various developmental policies and programmes since 1950's. In the field of health, while the life expectancy at birth has gone up, as already discussed in the first part of this Chapter, the infant and the child mortality rates have declined sharply, with sex differentials almost bridged, as indicated in Table 3.8.12.

				Table 3.8.12  

 		Infant Mortality Rate (1978-1996)
      Year           Females                Males                 Persons
      1978           131                     123                    127
      1988           93                       96                     94
      1992*          80                       79                     79
      1996*          NA                      NA                      72

* Provisional; Source : Sample Registration System - Fertility and Mortality Indicators for respective years, RG and CC, New Delhi.


3.8.90 Despite the significant achievements in bringing down the female Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) from 131 in 1978 to 72 in 1996, yet there exists inter-state variations with the highest IMR of 97 in Madhya Pradesh and the lowest being 13 in Kerala during 1996. Like-wise, the rural and urban differentials also continue to be very high. While the IMR (All India) in urban areas was 46, it was 78 in rural areas during 1996. Similarly, the age specific death rate for 0-4 age group has declined from 56.2 to 23.9 between 1971 and 1994.

3.8.91 Like the IMR, the Child Mortality Rate for females in the age group 0-4 years, has also declined to less than half from 55.1 in 1970 to 24.2 in 1994, as compared to the decline from 51.7 to 23.6 in the case of males, as per the data given in Table 3.8.13. But, the regional variations continue to be very high even today, with the highest being 37 in Madhya Pradesh and the lowest 3.4 in Kerala.

                           Table 3.8.13

                    Child Mortality Rates by Age-Group
Year        Age Group          Female        Male
1970        0-4 yrs.            55.1         51.7
            All Ages            15.6         15.8
1985        0-4 yrs.            40.4         36.6
            All Ages            11.8         11.8
1992        0-4 yrs.            28.2         24.9
            All Ages            10.2         10.0
1994        0-4 yrs.            24.2         23.6
            All Ages             8.9          9.6
Source: Sample Registration System (SRS) Fertility and Mortalityy Indicators for respective years, RG and CC, New Delhi.

3.8.92 The high Infant and Child Mortality Rates, referred to above, can be attributable to a large extent to the following specific causes, which are preventable/treatable, especially `Pre-maturity' which accounts for more than 50 per cent :

                   Table 3.8.14

Percentage distribution of Cause-Specific Infant 
Deaths - 1995
  Cause                           Percentage
  - Pre-maturity                       53.5
  - Respiratory Infection of new born  17.0
  - Diarrhea of new born                7.4
  - Congenital Malformation             3.0
  - Birth Injury                        2.0
  - Cord Infection                      3.1
  - Non classifiable                   14.0
            Total                      100.0

Source:The Survey of the Causes of Death (Rural : 1995) Office of the Registrar General of India, New Delhi

3.8.93 The ever-declining sex ratio, as already discussed in the first part of this Chapter, has been a cause for serious concern. Except in Kerala, where the sex ratio is in favour of females, the sex ratio maintained the very same declining trend in all the other States during the same period. The special studies on the `Declining Sex Ratio and the Problem of Female Infanticide’ sponsored in 1993 by the nodal Department of Women and Child Development, New Delhi have revealed that while the practice of Female Foeticide is a common phenomenon in urban areas, the problem of female infanticide is a localised phenomenon and limited only to certain communities in the States of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan.

3.8.94 Reports have also confirmed that the practice of these two social evils viz. Female foeticide and female infanticide is mainly due to the strong preference for son and as such, these are responsible to a large extent for the ever-declining sex-ratio. Misuse of the modern technique of Amniocentesis for sex determination is an added dimension to this problem. In fact, the present ban on the sex determination test through the enactment of the `Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994’, could hardly change the situation. Adding to this, is the problem of ineffective implementation of the Act of Compulsory Registration of Births and Deaths, which fails to provide information on vital statistics.

3.8.95 Malnutrition constitutes a major threat to the development potential of young children. However, surveys conducted by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, Hyderabad (1975-79 and 1988-90) have confirmed that there has been a declining trend in severe and moderate degrees of malnutrition amongst children, as per the details given in Table 3.8.15.

                             Table 3.8.15
	Prevalence of Malnutrition among children(1 to 5 years)
             			Grade                Percentage
                               1996-91                 1988-90
  - Normal (>=90%)              5.9                      9.9
  - Mild (75-90%)               31.0                    37.6
  - Moderate (60-75%)           47.5                    43.8
  - Severe (<60%)		15.0                     8.7
Source: NNMB Report of Repeat Surveys (1988-90), Hyderabad.

3.8.96 Further, surveys conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and other agencies reveal that the micro-nutrient deficiencies viz. Vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency and iodine deficiency disorders have been affecting children in various degrees. The national data indicate that although the proportion of nutritional blindness has reduced drastically, yet the sub-clinical deficiency of vitamin A still continues to be prevalent. Similarly, Iron deficiency is also prevalent amongst pre-school and school going children. For details, refer `Nutrition’ under the Chapter `Food and Nutrition Security’.

3.8.97 On the education front, there has been a substantial increase in the enrolment of children (provisional for 1997) at all levels of schooling. While the enrolment at the primary level has increased by about 6 times i.e. from 19.2 million in 1951 to 110.4 million in 1997, it has risen by 13 times at the middle level from 3.1 million in 1951 to 41.0 million in 1997, and by 18 times from 1.5 million in 1951 to 27.0 million in 1997 at high/higher secondary level, as could be seen from the Table 3.8.16.

Table 3.8.16
School Enrolment by Stages/Classes for Boys and Girls (1951-1997) (In Millions)

 Year            Primary (I-V)       Middle (VI-VIII)       High/H.Sec (IX-XII)
          Girls  Boys  Total     Girls  Boys  Total      Girls  Boys  Total
 1950-51     5.4   13.8   19.2       0.5   2.6   3.1        0.2    1.3   1.5
 1960-61    11.4   23.6   35.0       1.6   5.1   6.7        0.7    2.7   3.4
 1970-71    21.3   35.7   57.0       3.9   9.4  13.3        1.7    4.9   6.6
 1980-81    28.5   45.3   73.8       6.8  13.9  20.7        3.2    7.6  10.8
 1990-91    41.0   58.1   99.1      12.4  20.9  33.3        6.9   14.0  20.9
 1992-93*   44.9   60.5  105.4      15.0  23.7  38.7        7.7   15.0  22.7
 1996-97*   47.9   62.5  110.4      16.3  24.7  41.0        9.8   17.2  27.0
* Provisional; Source:Department of Education, M/HRD(GOI), New Delhi.

3.8.98 Indicative of the positive effect of increasing rates of enrolment, there is a visible decline in the drop-out rates between 1981 and 1997 from 58.7 per cent to 38.9 per cent at the primary level, from 72.7 per cent to 52.3 per cent at the middle level and from 82.5 per cent to 68.4 per cent at the high school level (I-X), as given below :

		Table 3.8.17
	Drop-out Rates Amongst Girls and Boys(1980-1997)
 Year         Primary (I-V)                 Middle (VI-VIII)
 	      ----------------------      ------------------------
            Girls    Boys    Total      Girls     Boys     Total
1980-81      62.5    56.2    58.7        79.4     88.0     72.7
1990-91*     46.0    40.1    42.6        65.1     59.1     60.9
1992-93*     43.0    40.1    41.3        60.1     54.0     56.5
1996-97*     38.4    39.4    38.9        52.8     51.9     52.3
* Provisional; Source:Department of Education, GOI, New Delhi

3.8.99 Despite all these gains, the total female literacy rate still continues to be very low at 39.3 per cent in 1991. While the slow pace of educational development of women is a cause for concern, the large inter-State variations, urban-rural and the gender differentials, high drop-out rates, especially those of the girls and other socially disadvantaged groups like SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities magnify the problem.

3.8.100 The problem of child labour, despite effective policies, programmes and legislative support, continues to persist particularly in the unorganised and home-based industries and domestic services. The population of the child workers has, no doubt, come down from 13.6 million in 1981 to 11.3 million in 1991, but the magnitude of the problem still continues to be very high as the child workers constitute 3.5 per cent of the total child population. In certain industries like carpet weaving, beedi-making, match box, fireworks, bangles-making etc, children are subjected to long working hours, poor working conditions, low wages, and occupational hazards which affect them adversely.

3.8.101 Child prostitution is an emerging problem with serious social consequences. According to a study on the problem of Prostitution conducted by the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) in 1991, the estimated number of prostitutes in six metropolitan cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai ranged from 70,000 to 1,00,000. Of this, the number of child prostitutes has been estimated as 12 to 15 per cent. The religious practices of offering young girls to temples in the name of Devadasi, Basavi, Yellamma, Jogin etc. are prevalent in certain parts of the country.

3.8.102 The increasing number of Street Children, who are estimated to be 4.15 lakh in 8 major cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Kanpur and Chennai, is another serious problem. Efforts to meet the needs of Street Children viz. education, health, shelter, counselling etc. through voluntary organisations have been too recent to have any appreciable impact on their status. Juvenile crimes, though declining, are still very high (17,203 in 1994) and the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents/vagrants requires priority attention. More details on Street Children are available under the Chapter `Social Welfare'.


3.8.103 As in the past, the young child will continue to be placed first on the country's developmental agenda with a special focus on the Girl Child. To this effect, the Ninth Plan reaffirms its priority for the development of early childhood as an investment in country's human resource development. While the first six years are acknowledged as critical for the development of children, greater stress will be laid on reaching the younger children below 2 years.

3.8.104 The two National Plans of Action - one for Children and the other exclusively for the Girl Child adopted in 1992, also fall very much within the guiding principles underlining the importance of `Survival, Protection and Development'. Efforts in the Ninth Plan will, therefore, be made to expedite effective implementation and achievement of the goals set in the two Plans of Action besides instituting a 'National Charter for Children' to ensure that no child remains illiterate, hungry or lacks medical care. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by our country in 1992, also provides a strong base for initiating necessary - legal and other developmental measures for protection of the rights of the child.



  • To place the Young Child at the top of the Country’s Developmental Agenda with a Special Focus on the Girl Child
  • To re-affirm its priority for the development of early childhood services as an investment in Country’s Human Resource Development


  • To institute a National Charter for Children ensuring that no Child remains illiterate, hungry or lacks medical care
  • Acknowledge that the first six years as critical for the development of children therefore, greater stress will be laid on reaching the younger children below 2 years
  • To arrest the declining sex ratio and curb its related problems of female foeticide and female infanticide and thus ensure `Survival, Protection and Development of Children’
  • To ensure ‘Survival, Protection and Development’ through the effective implementation of the two National Plans of Action -one for the Children and the other for the Girl Child
  • To continue to lay a special thrust on the three major areas of child development viz., health, nutrition and education
  • To bring down the IMR to less than 60 and the CMR to below 10 by 2002 A.D. through providing easy access to health care services including RCH services and 100% coverage of immunisation in respect of all vaccine preventable diseases
  • To universalise the Nutrition Supplementary Feeding Programmes to fill the existing gaps in respect of both pre-school and school children and expectant and nursing mothers with a special focus on the Girl Child and the Adolescent Girl
  • To view girl’s education as a major intervention for breaking the vicious inter-generational cycle of gender and socio-economic disadvantages
  • To expand the support services of creche / daycare services and to develop linkages between the primary schools and of the child care services to promote educational opportunities for the Girl Child
  • To widen the scope and the spectrum of child development services with necessary interventions related to empowerment of women and children, families and communities through effective convergence and coordination of various sectoral efforts and services
  • To universalise ICDS as the main-stay of the Ninth Plan for promoting the over-all development of the young children especially the Girl Child and the mothers all over the country
  • To expand the scheme of Adolescent Girls in preparation for their productive and re-productive roles as confident individuals not only in family building but also in nation building
  • To promote the nutritional status of the mother and the child by improving the dietary intake through a change in the feeding practices and intra-family food distribution
  • To strenghthen the early joyful peirod of play and learning in the young child’s life and to ensure a harmonious transition from the family environment to the primary school.

3.8.105 To ensure `survival and protection' of children especially that of the girl-child, the major strategy of the Ninth Plan will be to arrest the declining sex ratio and curb its related problems of female foeticide and female infanticide. These problems will be attacked through a two-pronged strategy of both direct and indirect measures. While the direct measures include effective implementation of the existing legislation, the indirect measures will be to change the mindset of the people in favour of the girl child, besides empowering women to exercise their reproductive rights and choices. Towards this, collaborative efforts of all concerned to prevent/control/eradicate these two social evils will be initiated. In these efforts, both medical and para-medical staff viz. doctors, auxiliary nurse midwives/trained dais and the front-line workers of ICDS and the local voluntary organisations are going to play a major role. Special efforts will be made to ensure effective enforcement of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 and of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 with a close and continuous vigil, surveillance and severe punishment for the guilty.

3.8.106 The next priority will be to fulfil the birth right of every child to `development', especially those belonging to the disadvantaged and deprived groups with special needs and disabilities. In this regard, the present thrust will continue to be laid on the three major areas of child development viz. health, nutrition and education. While the most critical period, from conception to two years of age, will be addressed through key interventions to promote health, nutritional and psycho- social development of the mother and the young child through the programmes of Reproductive Child Health (RCH) and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the pre-school age will be taken care of exclusively by the ICDS through a six-service package and the school going age through various health, nutrition and educational programmes.

3.8.107 The Ninth Plan identifies the urgent need to review and synthesise all the existing policies and programmes, both child-specific and child-related. In this context, the National Policy for Children adopted in 1974 needs to be revised, in view of various developments that have taken place between 1974 and 1997, including the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the National Plans of Action for Children and the Girl child (1992). Accordingly, action will also be initiated to reconstitute the National Children's Board. It is also time to consider instituting a mechanism both at the national and State levels to safeguard the rights and interests of children along with the services of a Public Defender to take up the cases on behalf of children and to investigate/redress the individual complaints and grievances.


3.8.108 Efforts will continue in the Ninth Plan to bring down the IMR to less than 60 and the CMR to below 10 by 2002 A.D. through effective interventions of providing easy access to primary health care services and 100 per cent coverage of immunization in respect of vaccine-preventable diseases viz. Diptheria, Pertussis, Neo-natal Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis and Measles. The special drives of Pulse Polio launched during 1995-96 will be continued till the complete elimination of the problem of Poliomyelitis. In all these efforts, special attention will be paid to improve the health and the nutritional status of the girl child and the adolescent girls as they both enjoy a lower status, when compared to their counterparts, due to vulnerability and discrimination.

3.8.109 Under the Reproductive and Child Health Care programme, attempts will be made to assess the health needs of `children, adolescents and women belonging to all age groups at the PHC level and to undertake area-specific micro-planning to meet their needs through high quality integrated RCH services. The services for `Child Survival' under the RCH will include universal screening of women during pregnancy and identification and management of `at-risk' individuals to achieve reduction in the peri-natal and neo-natal mortality and morbidity. (More details are available under the Chapter on `Health and Family Welfare').

3.8.110 In line with the commitments of the National Nutrition Policy (1993), priority will be accorded to promote the nutritional status of the mother and the child by improving the dietary intake through a change in the feeding practices and intra-family food distribution and preventing the deficiency diseases. The quality and effectiveness of health and nutrition interventions for mother and the child will be further strengthened with a special focus on early diagnosis and prevention of malnutrition during pregnancy and lactation for mothers and children before and after birth with a special focus on the most crucial age of 0-23 months.

3.8.111 In view of the importance accorded to nutrition adequacy in the Ninth Plan, all States/UTs will be encouraged to ensure the availability of adequate funds for supplementary nutrition component of ICDS, by listing the same as one of the first three priorities under Basic Minimum Services, for which additional Central assistance is being extended to States/UTs. Decentralised funding, community contribution and procurement of local nutritious foods for the supplementary feeding programmes will be promoted to ensure that the food distributed is adaptable/palatable for the young children and also rich in the micro-nutrients viz. Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine. In this context, the role of the Food and Nutrition Board will be redefined and strengthened in view of the mother and child- related commitments of the National Nutrition Policy and its Plan of Action. Efforts are being made for the development of new tools for Nutrition Monitoring and Surveillance to assess the nutritional status of children and mothers from time to time facilitating early detection of deficiencies and diseases and necessary interventions are taken to that effect. The specific strategies on this subject are detailed in the Chapter on `Food and Nutrition Security'.


3.8.112 In the Ninth Plan, the thrust will be on strengthening the early joyful period of play and learning in the young child's life to ensure a harmonious transition from the family environment to the primary school. Towards this, special efforts will be made to develop linkages between ICDS and primary education. These "operational linkages" will seek to reinforce coordination of timings and location based on community appraisal and micro-planning at grass-roots levels. Girls' education will be viewed as a major intervention for breaking the vicious inter- generational cycle of gender and socio-economic disadvantages. The effective expansion of day care services and linkages of child care services and primary schools will be a major input to promote developmental opportunities for the girl child for participation in primary education and support services for women. More details are available under the Chapter on `Education'.


3.8.113 The scope and the spectrum of child development services will be further widened with necessary interventions related to empowerment of women and children, families and communities through effective convergence and co-ordination of all sectoral efforts and services. To this effect, the ongoing approach of converging the basic services of health, nutrition and pre-school education to promote holistic development of the young child, as embodied in ICDS, will be further strengthened with community participation and action to `Reach the Unreached' that is, children below 2 years. Thus, ICDS will continue to be the mainstay of the Ninth Plan promoting the overall development of the young children all over the country through its universalisation. For Further Syrengthening and expansion of ICDS the Programme has been under the Special Action Plan with additional fincnacial support of Rs. 450 Crores in the Ninth Plan. In the expansion/universalisation of the outreach delivery systems of ICDS and RCH, emphasis will be on consolidation and enrichment of content to improve the quality sustenance of services. In this process, the role of an Anganwadi Worker will be that of a mobiliser of community participation and community contribution, apart from that of a service provider.

3.8.114 The Ninth Plan recognises the impending need for the support services of creches and day care centres for the children of working/ailing mothers in the present day situation where more and more women, coming out for employment/in search of employment both in the organised and unorganised sectors. In this context, there is an urgent need to strengthen the National Creche Fund to develop a network of creches all over the country.

3.8.115 The scheme for the adolescent girls will be expanded to promote their self-development, in preparation for their future productive and reproductive roles as confident individuals not only in family-building but also in nation-building. The programme for adolescent girls during the Ninth Plan will embrace the whole range of activities like health, nutrition, education, health and nutrition awareness and equip them with home-based entrepreneurial skills, vocational training and decision-making capabilities etc. Capacity Building In the field of child development, the major challenge in the Ninth Plan will be to achieve increased community ownership and qualitative improvement of child development programmes. Towards this, efforts will be made to re-orient the ongoing training/capacity building programmes. Priority will be accorded to strengthen the knowledge, skills and capabilities of front- line workers as mobilisers of convergent action. This entails a major change in the training process so as to equip the front- line workers to understand community perceptions, practices and emerging situations/demands. Thus, the major thrust would be to develop decentralised training strategies with innovative ground- based approaches. In consonance with the above, new approaches for mobilising assistance both in kind and cash for the sustenance of child development programmes will be experimented with community participation/contribution to ICDS. The principles enunciated above and the envisaged role of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies will have major implications not only in planning but also in the control of the flow of funds for the programmes of child development.

Elimination of Discrimination Against the Girl Child

3.8.116 While taking note of the persistent discrimination against the girl child, concerted efforts will be put into action to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violation of the rights of the girl child by undertaking strong measures including punitive ones. These relate to strict enforcement of laws against pre-natal sex selection and the practice of harmful practices of female foeticide/female infanticide; child marriage; child abuse; child labour; and child prostitution etc. Long-term measures will also be initiated to put an end to all forms of discrimination against the girl child through providing special incentives to the mother and the girl child so that the birth of a girl child is welcomed and the family is assured of State's support for the future of the Girl Child. To this effect, a special package for the girl children belonging to the families living below the poverty line was launched on 2 October, 1997 with special incentives namely - Rs.500/- to the mother on the delivery of a girl child (limited to 2 girl children); an annual scholarship of Rs.500/- for a girl child in I-V Classes; and Rs.1000/- from VI-X Classes and special permits to enjoy the benefits under all development programmes till she becomes a confident and self-reliant individual. Lessons learnt from the implementation of this Special Package for the Girl Child and similar initiatives launched by some of the State Governments viz. Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh will be put to use in expanding/replicating these special packages throughout the country.

Child Labour


Working Children (Child Labour)

  • To enforce the ongoing legal (The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986) and other remedial cum rehabilitative measures to eliminate Child Labour not only by strengthening various instruments that prevent / combat the problem of Child Labour but also ensuring their effective implementation
  • To organize suitable functional literacy/vocational training programmes and recreational facilities after working hours for the over all development of the working children

Child Sex Workers (Child Prostitution)

  • To contain the social evil of child prostitution, action will be initiated to bring forth specific amendments in the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (as amended in 1986) with stringent punishment for those involved in it
  • To introduce a Rehabilitation Package for those weaned out / withdrawn from the profession not only to keep them away from profession but also to keep them tied with alternative developmental avenues

Street Children

  • To curb the growing problem of Street Children, the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 will be enforced more effectively
  • Special priority to non-institutional services so as to restore the children either back to their own families or place them with Foster Families
  • Non-institutional services for those who are destitute, parentless or whose parents are suffering from infectious/communicable diseases

3.8.117 Towards fulfilling the national commitment of eliminating child labour, the Ninth Plan commits to enforce the on-going legal as well remedial/ rehabilitative measures to eliminate child labour not only by strengthening various instruments that prevent/combat the problem of child labour but also by ensuring their effective implementation. To this effect, strong regulatory and administrative measures to prevent exploitation of child labour will also be taken up. In the areas where child labour exists on a large scale, special preventive-cum- developmental measures will be put into action with the strength and support of legal/punitive measures. Simultaneously, efforts will also be made to organise suitable functional literacy/ vocational training programmes and recreative facilities, after working hours for the overall development of these working children. The enforcement measures of Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986 will be further strengthened at all levels. Also, the enforcement of the National Policy on Child Labour (1987) will be given a fresh look to make it more effective. Public opinion against the social evil like child labour will also be mobilised through the print and electronic media and the support of the pressure/activist groups.

Child Prostitution

3.8.118 To contain the social evil of child prostitution, action will be initiated to make the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (as amended in 1986) more specific, through amendments, to the problem of child prostitution and also make the punishment more stringent. The Central Advisory Committee on Child Prostitution, set up in 1994 at the instance of the Supreme Court, will be activated to review the situation from time to time and suggest effective steps in eradicating this social evil. A rehabilitation package for those weaned out/ withdrawn from the profession will also be put into action not only to keep the children away from prostitution but also to keep them tied up with alternative education- cum- income generation programmes. The other problem groups, namely, juvenile delinquents, street children and children in difficult circumstances are dealt with under the Chapter on `Social Welfare'.


3.8.119 A thorough review of all the existing child-specific and child-related legislations will be undertaken to plug the loopholes in their implementation. Every effort will be made to protect children from all forms of exploitation through strict enforcement of the existing legislations viz. the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 to check child prostitution; the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 to remove maladjustment and ensure rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents in the family and in the society; the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 to eliminate child labour; the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 as amended in 1993 to ensure equal rights to the girl child in the property of parents; Compulsory Registration of Marriages and Minimum Age of Marriage to avoid child marriages etc. Similarly, to promote breast-feeding and protect children from milk substitutes, the Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1992, will need to be enforced with a ban on the promotion of milk substitutes and baby foods through media. Enforcement of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 will receive special thrust to arrest the increasing incidence of Female Foeticide and Female Infanticide.


3.8.120 The Eighth Plan viewed development of children as an investment in the country's future, besides improving the quality of life of future generations. It, therefore, accorded high priority to family/community- based preventive services in combating the problems of infant and child mortality and morbidity. Efforts were also made to enhance the capabilities of families, especially those of the mothers to look after the basic health, nutritional and emotional needs of children in the age- group 0-6 years. In this process, the Eighth Plan recognised the `Girl Child' as an important target group, demanding attention of the Government for her development and to fight against the prevailing gender discrimination. Development of children, being inter-sectoral in nature, cuts across various sectors like Health, Nutrition, Education, Labour, Welfare and Women and Child Development. Contribution of these sectors towards the overall growth and development of children has been detailed in the following paragraphs.

3.8.121 The National Health Policy (1983) accords highest priority to launching of special programmes for the improvement of maternal and child health. The MCH services were further strengthened by launching the programme of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM) in 1992-93. The CSSM was being implemented in a phased manner, so as to cover all the districts in the country by 1996-97. The other ongoing interventions include expansion of the programme for Control of Acute Respiratory Infections for children below five years of age. Special efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis were made in 1995-96 by observing nation-wide immunization days on 9 December, 1995 and 20 January, 1996 when over 93 million children under 3 years were given Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) twice. Mass communication with two doses of OPV vaccine per year would be continued for the next three to four years with a view to eradicating poliomyelitis. In the case of measles, compared to the incidence in 1987, 80 per cent decline was achieved in 1995. The Government had also launched a special health check-up scheme for the primary school students during 22-27 July, 1996 in the country. The school health programme essentially aims at screening all primary school children for common ailments, referrals for children with problems to health institutions for full check-up and treatment and creating awareness among the community and teachers about the health problems among children. To maximise the reach of health services, the number of PHCs was increased from 20,719 to 21,854 and sub-centres from 1,31,464 to 1,32,730 during the Eighth Plan. In 1997-98, the number of PHC's in actual operation increased to 22,962 and sub-centres to 1,36,815.

3.8.122 In line with the policy prescriptions of the National Nutrition Policy (1993) and the directions of NPAN (1995), some impressive achievements were made on the nutrition scene in the country during the Eighth Plan period. Blindness due to Vitamin `A' deficiency had come down from 0.3 to 0.04 per cent between 1971 and 1989. The number of children with `normal' nutritional status has increased from 5.9% (1975-79) to 9.9% (1988-90) as per the NIN report titled `National Trends in India 1993'. Further, to tackle the problem of malnutrition amongst pre-school children (3-5 years), the Balwadi Nutrition Programme continued to provide nutritional supplement in a healthy environment, besides preparing children for formal schooling. At the end of the Eighth Plan, there were 5641 Balwadis catering to 2.25 lakh children.

3.8.123 In pursuance of the National Policy on Education (1986) and the Programme of Action (1992), various steps were taken during the Eighth Plan to universalise elementary education and expand Early Child Care Education (ECCE). This included a step-up of various programmes such as Operation Black-board, Minimum Levels of Learning and Non-formal Education. As a distinct strategy to reduce the drop-out rates and improve the school retention rates, a special programme called Early Childhood Education (ECCE) has been in operation since 1983. It aimed at improving children's communication and cognitive skills as a preparation for their entry into formal schooling. At the end of the Eighth Plan period there were 4365 ECE Centres, which were being run by 180 voluntary organisations benefiting about 1.09 lakh children in the age group 3-6 years in nine educationally backward States. Further, to give a boost to universalization of primary education, a nation-wide programme of Nutrition Support to Primary Education was launched in 1995. By March, 1998, this programme covered 9.11 crore primary class children in 5440 blocks in 507 districts with a special focus on the Low Female Literacy (LFL) Blocks.

3.8.124 In the field of Women and Child Development, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) continues to be the major intervention for the overall development of children. It caters to the pre-school children below 6 years and expectant and nursing mothers with a package of services viz. immunization, health check-ups, referral services, supplementary nutrition, pre-school education and health and nutrition education. The Eighth Plan contemplated universalization of ICDS by the end of 1995-96 by expanding the services to all over the country. Out of the 5614 ICDS Projects sanctioned till 1996, 4200 became operationalised during he Eighth Plan. The process of universalisation will continue during the Ninth Plan till all the 5614 ICDS Projects become operationalised. With the operationalisation of 4200 ICDS Projects, the total number of beneficiaries has risen from 16.6 million in 1991-92 to 23.3 million in 1997-98, which included 19.8 million children and 3.5 million expectant and nursing mothers. Of the 19.8 million child beneficiaries about 11.0 million received the services of pre-school education. The scheme of Adolescent Girls, an off-shoot of ICDS, aimed at providing a supportive environment for self-development, economic independence and self reliance. This scheme was in operation in 507 blocks benefiting 3.51 lakh beneficiaries, spread all over the country.

3.8.125 The ICDS Programme also receives assistance from the World Bank. The World Bank assisted Project of ICDS - I (1990-97) has been under implementation in the predominantly tribal and drought-prone rural areas covering 110 blocks in Andhra Pradesh and 191 blocks in Orissa. Simultaneously, the World Bank Project of ICDS-II (1993-2000) has also been under implementation in 210 blocks of Bihar and 244 blocks of Madhya Pradesh. The project envisaged coverage of all the tribal blocks in both the States. To cover another five States, viz. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, the World Bank assisted ICDS- III project is under formulation. The additional inputs in the World Bank assisted ICDS Projects include - construction of Anganwadi buildings and CDPO's office-cum-godowns; community mobilisation and women's income generation activities; Women's Integrated Learning for Life (WILL); strengthening of the health and nutrition components and experimentation for nutritional rehabilitation and enhanced inputs in the spheres of communication, training, project management, equipment, monitoring and evaluation.

3.8.126 The programme of ICDS, which has completed 20 years of its implementation in 1995, was evaluated by a number of individual experts and various research organisations, since 1979. Of these, the national evaluation of ICDS


ICDS - launched in 1975 is a nation-wide single programme for the over all development of children below 6 years and of the expectant and nursing mothers. It provides a Package of 6 services viz., Supplementary Feeding, Immunization, Health chek-ups, Referral Services, Pre-school Education and Health and Nutrition Education for its beneficiaries. The Eight Plan contemplated universalisation of ICDS by 1995-96 by expanding the services to all the 4571 CD blocks in rural areas, 733 blocks in tribal areas and 310 municipal wards in urban slums. However, the programme has been in effective operation in 4200 ICDS blocks all over the country benefiting 20 million children and 3.5 million mothers by 1997-98. Special Services for 3.51 lakh Adolescent Girls in 507 ICDS blocks are also being extended. ICDS also receives assistance from the World Bank to add some additional inputs like construction of project buildings, income generation activities for women / mothers, experimentation of nutritional rehabilitation services, training and project management, equipment, monitoring and evaluation etc.

The Programme of ICDS, which completed 20 years of its implementation in 1995, was evaluated by the National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development, New Delhi in 1992. The findings of the study indicated a very definite positive impact of ICDS services delivered through a single-window on the health and nutritional status of the pre-school children and of the mothers. Universalisation of ICDS is, therefore, the ultimate objective of the Ninth Plan.

conducted by the National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development (NIPCCD), New Delhi in 1992 and the Mid-term Evaluation of World Bank assisted ICDS need a special mention. The findings of the Study by NIPCCD indicated a very positive impact of ICDS on the health and nutrition status of pre-school children. To quote the findings of the Study, the IMR was significantly lower at 71, compared to SRS national average of 80. The immunization coverage of mothers and children was 46 and 49 per cent, respectively in ICDS areas, compared to 33 and 32 per cent in non-ICDS areas. The nutritional status of children in ICDS areas was found to be better than that of the children in non-ICDS areas. The percentage of normal children was 35 in ICDS areas and 31 in non- ICDS areas. Non-ICDS areas also recorded 3 per cent more children in Grade III and IV malnutrition, as compared to ICDS areas (ICDS - 10.8 per cent, Non-ICDS - 13.11 per cent). The prophylaxis programmes of both vitamin A and iron had better coverage among women and children in ICDS areas, as compared to non-ICDS areas. Higher percentage of babies had low birth weight in non-ICDS areas as compared to ICDS areas. In tribal areas, the difference was almost double (ICDS - 43.3 per cent and Non – ICDS - 80 per cent). The support for pre-school education of children in the age group of 3-6 years was also significant. As much as 89 per cent of children with pre-school education experience were found to be continuing their education in primary school as compared to 52 to 60 per cent without pre-school education in both ICDS and non-ICDS areas.

3.8.127 The Mid-term evaluation of the World Bank assisted ICDS (Project-I) conducted in Andhra Pradesh during 1995-96 revealed that the Project interventions had brought down the IMR to 62 per 1000 live births which was in consonance with the project objective of 60 per 1000 live births. The incidence of severe malnutrition amongst children of 0-3 years was reduced to about 5 per cent and that of 3-6 years to 3 per cent. The proportion of low birth weight babies also came down to 20 per cent as against the project goal of 24 per cent. Similarly, in Orissa, the IMR had come down to 93.6 and the incidence of low birth weight of babies to 23 per cent.

3.8.128 Training of ICDS functionaries is yet another important programme funded by the Department of Women and Child Development and implemented by the National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development (NIPCCD), New Delhi with its nation-wide network of 3 Regional Centres, 18 Middle Level Training Centres (MLTCS) and 300 Anganwadi Workers Training Centres (AWTCS). During the Eighth Plan period, 1521 CDPOs/ACDPOs, 3839 Supervisors and 153184 AWWs were trained. During 1997-98, the first year of the Ninth Five Year Plan, 386 CDPO's, 921 Supervisors and 41,000 AWW were trained. Despite a busy schedule throughout the year, there remained a huge backlog in the training of ICDS functionaries. To clear the backlog the special drives initiated during the Eighth Plan will continue during the Ninth Plan along with some innovative measures to improve the components of ICDS training.

3.8.129 Creche and Day Care services for children of working/ailing mothers, continued without any expansion during the Eighth Plan. There were 12470 creches benefiting 3.12 lakh children functioning under this programme by 1990-91. However, to meet the growing demand for more creches, a National Creche Fund (NCF) was set up in 1994 with a corpus of Rs.19.90 crore received under Social Safety Net. The NCF extended financial assistance for the opening of creches besides conversion of the existing Anganwadis into Anganwadi-cum-Creches. Under the NCF, 1803 creches were added benefiting about 0.44 lakh more children. A wider expansion of creche/day-care services is envisaged during the Ninth Plan.

3.8.130 The Eighth Plan marked the adoption of two National Plans of Action in 1992 - one for children and the other exclusively for the girl child. These Plans of Action committed themselves to achieve the goals of the World Summit viz. `Survival, Protection and Development' of Children. In line with these National Plans, 15 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal had already prepared their own State Plans of Action for Children/the Girl Child. Other States were being pursued to expedite action for finalising their draft Plans of Action. Two separate Inter- Departmental Co-ordination Committees review the progress of the implementation of these two Plans of Action at regular intervals. The first initiative under these Plans of Action was to get gender disaggregated data from all the child- related developmental sectors to assess the progress made in improving the status of children and the girl child since 1951.

3.8.131 In the State sector, most of the States/UTs were implementing a number of programmes for welfare and development of women and children in addition to those being implemented by the Centre. The important programmes for women in the State sector include various developmental programmes like employment and income generation programmes, training-cum-production centres for destitute women; mahila mandals/mahila sangams; awareness generation/gender sensitization programmes; special campaigns against dowry, prostitution, child marriages etc.; rehabilitation of women in distress; welfare services for women in need of care and protection etc. In addition to these, they also have a major responsibility for implementing various women-specific/women- related legislations, besides setting up/maintaining the mandatory institutions under these Acts. The other major contribution of the States and UTs relates to their coordinating role between the Centre and the NGO sector in implementing the various grant-in-aid programmes, as almost all the women development programmes in the Central sector are being implemented only through NGOs. Along with the Centre, most of the State Governments have initiated action in formulating their own State Policies for Empowering Women. The child development programmes include supplementary nutrition feeding under ICDS, Children Homes, Bal Bhawans, Remand Homes, Observation Homes, services to destitute children and children in need of care and protection etc. Some States have adopted State Plans of Action for Children/Girl Child. A few States like Haryana (Apna Beti Apna Dhan), Tamil Nadu (Cradle Scheme), Andhra Pradesh (Girl Child Protection Scheme), Punjab (Kanya Jagriti Jyoti), Rajasthan (Raj Lakshmi Scheme) and Madhya Pradesh (Bhagyalakshmi) have launched specific schemes to improve the lot of the girl child.


3.8.132 Conducting research/action research on specific problems relating to women and children and evaluation of the ongoing programmes for the welfare and development of women and children leading to mid-term corrections in the content, scope and coverage of the programmes has been a part of the planning process in the women and child development sector. Research on the application of science and technology for the improvement of the quality of life of women will be directed to specific areas e.g. fuel, water, environmental degradation etc. which affect the lives of women along with other social problems. In the recent past, the scope of research and evaluation was widened to include special studies to assess the impact of various programmes, being implemented for women's development and empowerment.

3.8.133 Efforts will also be made to develop a national level `Information Network System' for women and children with emphasis on collection of gender- specific data with the objective of preparing a Gender Development Index so as to assess the socio- economic status of women and children on a continuing basis. In this context, a special mention needs to be made about the action already initiated in developing an `Integrated Monitoring System' during the Ninth Plan as a part of the national machinery of women and child development. In these efforts, the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), New Delhi, and the National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW), which is in the process of being set up, along with their Regional Centres, are going to play a major role.


3.8.134 At the Centre, the nodal Department of Women and Child Development acts as the national machinery to guide, co-ordinate and review the efforts of both governmental and non-governmental organisations working for the welfare and development of women and children. The support structures to the nodal Department include the Central Social Welfare Board, an apex organisation at national level, which acts as


The Women and Child Development Sector has a rich tradition of selfless voluntary action. While the governmental interventions in this sector are operationalised mainly through the NGOs, the initiative that the latter have themselves developed are rich and diverse. These efforts have often demonstrated the success of alternative models of development and empowerment of women – be it in the field of providing credit for poor women or women’s health or women’s awareness generation or women’s literacy or running self-employment programs in traditional and non-traditional sectors of the economy or organising women into Self-Help Groups to initiate the process of empowering/advancing women.

an umbrella organisation by networking through State Welfare Boards and through them thousands of voluntary organisations working for the welfare and development of women and children in the country; the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), New Delhi which assists the Department in the areas of research and training relating to women and children; and the National Commission for Women which was set up in 1992 as the highest statutory body to safeguard and protect the women's rights and privileges. Similar Commissions are being set up at State level also. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh is yet another support structure at the national level for extending both 'forward' and `backward' linkages for women in the informal sector in their entrepreneurial ventures. The Women's Cells set up in the Central Ministries/Departments of Labour, Industry, Rural Development and Science and Technology are expected to develop strong linkages between the national machinery and the women- related Ministries/ Departments. At the State level, development of women and children continues to be a part of the Department of Social Welfare in almost all the States/UTs except Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, where exclusive Departments/Directorates have been set up to handle the programmes relating to women and children. Unlike the other sectors viz. - education and rural development, no exclusive machinery exists at the District/Block levels for women and child development. Non-existence of an exclusive implementing machinery at the State/District/Block levels has been affecting the implementation, supervision and monitoring of various policies and programmes for women and children. This situation also leads to excessive dependence on other governmental and non- governmental agencies. The problem is further aggravated in States where the presence of NGOs is minimal. Therefore, there is an urgent need to expedite the setting up of exclusive Departments/ Directorates for women and child development in those State Governments where no such set-up is now available. Special efforts will also need to be made to strengthen/streamline the existing institutional mechanisms both at the Central and State levels with adequate resources, both human and financial, so that the system could gear up to meet the challenging task of empowering women and children during the Ninth Plan.


3.8.135 While the governmental inerventions in this sector are operationalised largely through voluntary organisations, the innovative initiatives, experiments and alternative models that the latter have developed are rich and diverse. These efforts have often demonstrated the success of alternative models of develop-ment of children and empowerment of women in the areas of credit, awareness generation, organising women into Self-Help Groups,self-employment, participatory rural appraisal etc. The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) is another success story of reaching credit to the poor and assetless women in the informal sector, through the medium of NGOs. The RMK has been networking with 170 NGOs to reach about 2 lakh women. It has also established the credentials of attaining a recovery rate as high as 96 per cent. The other two important areas where the voluntary sector has been contributing their best relate to fighting against the atrocities/violence against women and girl children and creating a positive image about women and children through various awareness generation and gender sensitization programmes. The Central Social Welfare Board which is a national level Apex organisation promotes voluntary action through its country-wide network of 12,000 voluntary organisations. Besides, there are many other national and State level voluntary organisations working for the development of children and empowerment of women.


An outlay of Rs. 7810.42 crore(which includes Rs. 450 crores for ICDS under Special Action Plan(SAP)) has been earmarked in the Central Sector for Women and Child Development in the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002). Outlays for women and child development programmes in the State Sector are included as part of outlays for ‘Social Welfare(See Chapter 3.10)’.

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