Inspired by Gujarat government, the Centre has urged all the states to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in their police forces to effectively deal with cases of sexual violence and crime against women.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has written to Chief Ministers of all states to take inspiration from Gujarat’s recent decision to enforce 33 per cent reservation for women in the police force.
“I wrote letter to every single Chief Minister, saying that please replicate it,” Gandhi said while expressing resolve to put in place effective mechanism to deal with cases of violence against women.
Expressing strong resolve to ensure welfare of women and children, Gandhi told that her Ministry was contemplating a series of measures including plugging the loopholes in implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme across the country.
The Minister said the government was also mulling steps to ensure protection to the older people like in disputes relating to properties through amendment in the Domestic Violence Act or by other measures.
The Minister said government does not want to amend the Domestic Violence Act in such a way that it loses the effectiveness to protect the daughter-in-laws from any sort of violence. But, she added that at the same time, government was looking at protecting the older people as well.
The current law was enacted primarily to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives. The law also extends its protection to women living in a household such as sisters, widows or mothers.
Listing her priorities, Gandhi said her Ministry was also determined to make National Commission of Women (NCW) on par with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to effectively deal with cases of violence and harassment of women.
“Unless NCW gets teeth, women will not get justice…It would be powerful enough to be one more defence mechanism that women can use,” said Gandhi indicating her displeasure over functioning of the statutory body for women.
The Minister said she wants NCW to be an effective body so that it can recommend jail and refer cases to court.
To deal with complaints of women from across the country, Gandhi said she has issued direction to set up a grievance cell in the Ministry which will help women in distress and interact with state police to investigate the cases.
Gandhi said her Ministry was also planning to streamline the functioning of Anganwadis across the country which provide services like post natal care and supplementary nutrition to both children below the age of six as well as pregnant women under Integrated Child Development Services.
“Anganwadis is one system that really needs to be worked out because they could be the most powerful weapons that we have against malnutrition and for baby care,” she said.
The Minister said there are cases of alleged regularities such as fake tenders and substandard food being provided by Anganwadis and there was a need to put in place a mechanism to check such wrong-doings.