The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) has announced launching of a ‘Scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women’ from the current year to ensure that the benefits of growth and development reach the women of the minority communities. It has recast and renamed the existing ‘Leadership development for life, livelihood and civic empowerment of the minority women’ for the purpose which had been in operation since 2007.
The recast scheme is being taken up in pursuance of the Rajinder Sachar Committee Report on which had highlighted the educational and socio-economic situation of the Indian Muslims. However, the new scheme will include a representative mix of 25 per cent of non-minority communities like Scheduled castes and tribes and other backward communities (OBCs) ‘to strengthen the mosaic of plurality of the society’. Efforts would be made to persuade elected women representatives (EWR) from any community under the panchayati raj institutions as trainees.
The background paper of the ‘Leadership Development of Minority Women’ states that the objective of the scheme is to empower and instill confidence in women, by providing knowledge, tool and techniques and skills for interacting with Government system, banks, cooperatives and intermediaries at all levels. It aims at emboldening them to move out of the confines of their homes and assume leadership roles and assert their rights, collectively and individually, in accessing services, facilities, skills and opportunities besides claiming their due share of development benefits of the government for improving their lives and living conditions.
The scheme will be implemented through registered societies, public trusts, non-profit companies, universities and colleges and panchayati raj institutions.
The leadership training modules would invariably cover issues and rights relating to women, education, employment, livelihood etc. under the Constitution and various Acts; opportunities, facilities and services available under the schemes and programmes of the Central Government and State Governments in the fields of education, health, hygiene, nutrition, immunization, family planning, disease control, fair price shop, drinking water supply, electricity supply, sanitation, housing, self-employment, wage employment, skill training opportunities, crime against women etc. It would also cover role of women in panchayati raj and nagar palika, legal rights of women, Right to Information Act (RTI), National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA), household surveys and Below Poverty Line (BPL) list, office structure and functions, redressal forum and mechanism etc. The training module would be structured in such a manner that training inputs are given in short phases.
The scheme will be implemented throughout the country with special focus on districts, blocks and towns/cities having a substantial minority population. It is proposed to cover 182,800 women from 2009-10 to 2011-12. For 2009-10, 32,950 women will be targeted with an outlay of Rupees eight crore. The fund requirement for the scheme for a period of three years of the Eleventh Five – year Plan is Rs. 48 crore. Full details of the scheme can be downloaded from the following website: