Keen to expand women’s participation in government flagship job scheme -- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) -- the Centre has suggested a wide range of measures to all states.
The latest set of suggestions comes close to the heels of the Centre’s insistence on opening accounts for women participants of the job guarantee scheme.
In a letter to the CMs, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh claimed that if the plans are implemented, "would greatly add to the empowerment of women."
The Centre has asked the states to identify widows, deserted or destitute women and provide 100 days of job for them.
"Ensure special works, which requires less efforts and those that are close to their house are given to pregnant women and lactating mothers," says another suggestion.
Ramesh has also suggested facilities like drinking water, crèches and shade for female participants. The Centre has pledged to provide “whatever assistance is required” to roll out these initiatives.
At a time when the UPA government is facing fierce agitation from youth over the alleged inaction in protecting women, Congress sources point out that these measures will help to show Centre’s committment to women empowerment.