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Centre casual on women's panel

The Standing Committee on Empowerment of Women pointed out in its report that the centre and state governments have failed to ensure effective functioning of women's commissions.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2004 13:26 IST

A parliamentary committee has criticised the central government's "casual approach" to the setting up of state-level women's commissions.

The Standing Committee on Empowerment of Women pointed out in its report that the centre and state governments have failed to ensure effective functioning of women's commissions, which are meant to look into problems women face.

The report, tabled in the Lok Sabha Friday on the eve of International Women's Day, also maintained that New Delhi was not doing enough to empower the National Commission for Women (NCW).

It noted that though 11 states and six union territories are yet to set up women's commissions, only five official reminders had been issued from the federal ministerial level over the past 11 years to state governments to make them comply.

"It shows the casual approach of the government," said the report of the committee headed by Congress MP Margaret Alva.

The committee members asked the government to give full financial autonomy to women's commissions.

The National Commission for Women Act came into existence in 1990, but Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal have not yet constituted women's commissions.

In the absence of any act or constitutional provision, it is not mandatory for state governments to constitute women's commissions.

"So the government should amend the National Commission for Women Act (to make it mandatory)," the committee recommended.

"The centre should impress upon the state governments the need to set up the commissions for women by a statutory order."

The report also noted that many state governments have not provided requisite infrastructure and sufficient funds to their women's commissions.

The standing committee also criticised the "lackadaisical" approach of the government to NCW's recommendations.

Its 18 members drawn from both houses of Parliament said past experience had shown that people nominated to the commissions have not always been able to address women's problems because of lack of experience and expertise.

"It is important that members nominated to the commissions be persons of ability, integrity and standing who are articulate, have capacity and commitment to work for downtrodden women.

The selected persons should have the competence, eminence and stature to implement the mandate of the commission," the report said..

First Published: Mar 08, 2003 19:26 IST