Kofi Annan famously said once “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”
We couldn’t agree more, and seems like our government is taking steps, showing their understanding of the same. Thus, with great pleasure, we would like to share the news that on September 18th, Mission Poorna Shakti (MPS), which was implemented in Pali district of Rajasthan, in 2011 for empowering women, completed five very successful years. The scheme has benefited over 5.43 lakh women in the area.
To go back a little bit, the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) was launched by the Government of India on International Women’s Day in 2010 aiming to strengthen overall processes, that promote all-round development of women. It had the mandate to facilitate the process of coordinating all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments. In light with its mandate, the Mission was named Mission Poorna Shakti (MPS), implying a vision for holistic empowerment of women. MPS was launched in Rajasthan on September 16, 2011 as the first convergence pilot project.
Under the project, the directorate of women empowerment (WE) had appointed village coordinators for encouraging women to take benefits of the state and Centre’s beneficial schemes for women. The village coordinators help women by inspiring them to take part in gram sabhas and other meetings of the village to express their demands and opinions on different issues. It is operational in 150 gram panchayats of the district. At every gram sabha, WE has set up Poorna Shakti Kendras.
The Kendras also offer the following:
- Information on all government programs, schemes and services for women
- Maintain a database of the target population
- Awareness generation on legal rights and entitlements
- Facilitate the availability and access to government programmes/schemes/services across health, education and livelihood sectors.
- Training and capacity building on various issues like leadership/legal rights etc.
- Organize women into collectives to access various resources.
- Coordinate outreach of services of various departments.
The Partner Ministries and Departments of this scheme so far are Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and the Planning Commission, among many others.
The scheme has also played a role in improving sex ratio in the district. According to directorate of women empowerment (WE) figures, in 2012-13, 42,183 women took benefit from MPS. In 2013-14, 94,068 women, 1.64 lakh in 2014-15, 1.74 lakh in 2015-16 took the benefit of the initiative. Over 68,500 women have already been benefited by it in 2016 so far.
Inspired by the success of MPS, the Centre has set up Poorna Shakti Kendras in 10 gram sabhas in each state. In Rajasthan, Bundi has got 10 Poorna Shakti Kendras. Representatives from different states have visited Pali to study MPS. WE commissioner Richa Kheda said guidelines of Poorna Shakti Kendra in Pali for village convergence and facilitation services have inspired the national scheme-Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.
In a highly populous and diverse country like ours, government schemes tend to get lost and as a result, the target population many times is not even aware of relevant schemes. In this light, Poorna Shakti Kendras seem to be a wonderful way to make sure that the women in smaller areas, are aware of their rights and entitlements, and can make informed choices on that basis. We, at CSR, are highly supportive of this scheme, and hope to see it attain greater success all over the country.
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