A high level National Conference of State/UT Ministers-in-charge of Women & Child development was held in New Delhi today. The meeting was chaired by the Union Minister of Women and Child development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in the presence of the Minister of State for WCD, Dr. Virendra Kumar. The conference was attended by the Ministers from States of Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur. The remaining States were represented by the Secretary level and other high level officers the State WCD Department. The National Level Conference was held with the objective to discuss issues pertaining to safety of women and children as well as Poshan Abhiyan with the purpose to direct and seek the support of State Governments to further their effective implementation.Addressing the conference, Smt. Maneka Gandhi said that during the last 4 years, the Centre has been diligently working on issues of women and child safety, adoptions, nutrition and women empowerment among others. Setting agenda for the conference Smt. Maneka Gandhi highlighted various mile stones achieved by the Ministry. She said that in order to enhance the infrastructure for Women Safety, the capacity of forensic laboratories is being increased from 1500 samples presently to a size of 50000 by setting up new forensic labs at Chandigarh and other places. She urged every state to have their own forensic lab to speed up investigation related to cases of women safety.
The Minister drew the attention of states to the issues concerning Child Abuse and asked for wider dissemination of information about e-Box for complaints from children on child abuse; and SHe-Box online complaints portal for sexual harassment at work for Women. She also appealed to the States to implement 33% women composition in police forces to enable a fearless atmosphere for women affected by crimes. She also requested the States to train women sarpanches to enable them to govern villages effectively.Speaking on child safety and adoption, the Minister drew the attention of the participants to compulsorily register all the child care institutions in the State and link them with CARA for proper monitoring. The Minister also said that there is need for States to invest in cradle centers to make available more destitute children for adoption. Among other issues discussed were filming of short film Komal on Good & Bad touch in schools, strengthening States National Commission for Women, Mahila- e-Haat, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, victim compensation scheme for acid attack victims and eliciting proposals for working Women hostels etc. The Minister urged the representatives from States to share any best practices and innovative ideas to further the objective of women and child safety and welfare in the country.The Minister of State for WCD, Dr. Virendra Kumar in his introductory address, highlighted the various significant steps initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for safety and protection of women. Several programs like Matru Vandana Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, One Stop Centres, Mahila e-Haat, Childline, POCSO e-Box and strong measures like death penalty for child rapists among others has created an environment for women protection and empowerment, he explained.Secretary WCD, Shri Rakesh Srivastava said that the WCD Ministry is continuously working to create an enabling environment for women free of violence and harassment with a multi-dimensional approach having a focus on convergence. He urged the states to extend their full cooperation to make the unique schemes and initiatives for women and children a success.The Minister of State WCD Departments highlighted the work done by them to take forward the initiatives launched by WCD Ministry as well as other innovative ideas introduced by them in their respective States. They also gave valuable suggestions to improve existing schemes and policies. The states welcomed the policy to register all the Child Care Institutions and linking them to CARA.The conference ended with the WCD Minister stating that women's issues need holistic approach and that States must do their best to enable that all women and child centric schemes are implemented to the fullest.