Although several government schemes aim to benefit women, many do not reach the targeted population because of lack of convergence between different government departments, said Varsha Gaikwad, state minister for women and child welfare on Monday.
Gaikwad was speaking at a conference, ‘Achieving Convergence for Empowerment of Women’ organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW). Government officials and activists from the western region (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadara and Nagar Haveli) participated in the conference.
“Often, schemes are announced and implemented directly by the central government and state governments are unaware of their impact and reach. ,” said Gaikwad. “Welfare schemes for women require involvement of other departments such as the Public Works Department for construction of toilets and banking sector for opening zero balance accounts for poor women and so on.”
Vandana Krishna, principal secretary, Women and Child Welfare department, spoke about the need for speedy trials and special courts for cases of rapes and domestic violence. “We have 39 counselling centers in police stations to deal with cases of rape and domestic violence and 64 more are proposed,” she said.
She also suggested that technology such as video conferencing should be used for deposition of women victims. However, activists opposed her suggestion to reduce the compensation for rape victims from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 50,000.