On the issue of sex relatedcrimes against women, the Minister said thatthe Union Ministry of Women and Child Development is preparing a film on ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ to be shown in the schools so that the girls can learn to identify the difference between the two. Smt Maneka Gandhi said that the Government is very strict on the issue of sex related crimes against women and sexual harassment laws have to be taken very seriously.
The Minister elaborated that the Government is setting up one stop crisis centres for women in distress which will be connected by a universal women’s helpline. 36 such crises centres will be set up, one in each state, to begin with . The Minister also proposed 33% reservation for women in police to make the system gender sensitive. In another measure to tackle crimes against women, SmtManeka Gandhi also proposed appointment of women as Special Police Officers who will work as honorary police women and provide interface between the police force and the women affected by violence.
Replying to the question on the adoption process, she said that the laws need to be simplified so that the babies can find families. On the nutrition issue, she said that the real time monitoring on a daily basis can help raise the nutritional level of children. Smt Maneka Gandhi added that Women & Child Development Ministry is giving shape to a Nutrition Mission which will entail training anganwadis, redesigning the composition of meals given to children and pregnant mothers, and real time monitoring of the nutritional status of children.
Responding to the issue of slashing of budget allocation for the Ministry’s Schemes, the Minister clarified that it is only a re-organisation where a part of funds have now been allocated directly to the States to be spent on the schemes for the welfare of women and children.
The Indian Women’s Press Corps also gave a representation to the Minister which included their demands such as a need for a mechanism to regularly monitor compliance of all laws including labour laws within media organizations which affect the working of women journalists. They also sought Ministry’s intervention specifically to ensure that media houses set up internal committees as mandated under the recently legislated Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi also released a brochure titled ‘Empowerment of Women in India: A continuing journey’ which gives statistical overview of parameters over the years pertaining to status of women in India in terms of education, mortality, life expectancy, participation in local government, budget allocations among others.