Exclusive gram sabhas for fair sex

Govt aims at tackling their issues by creating a common platform

In an initiative to accord importance and primacy to solve problems related to girlchildren and women, the State government has made it compulsory to conduct gram sabhas exclusively for women in all villages in the State.

The initiative has come in the wake of increasing crime against girlchildren and women in the State. It is also aimed at creating awareness and empowering the women.

The gram sabhas are usually held at twice a year, as required, under the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act. All the village residents are the automatic members of the gram sabhas and they are free to attend the meetings. It is at gram sabhas that the development requirements of a village are discussed and the beneficiaries are selected for the various welfare schemes of the government.

For the first time the State has moved a step further to strengthen the gram sabhas by initiating gender sensitivity, by deciding to have compulsory gram sabhas for women.

CM’s brainchild

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who also holds the Finance portfolio, had first mooted the proposal of holding special gram sabhas for women in his budget for the year 2014-15.

As a follow-up action, the department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPA) has instructed all the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the zilla panchayats, executive officers of the taluk panchayats, and panchayat development officers (PDOs) of all the gram panchayats to ensure that the special gram sabhas are mandatorily held for women.

The special gram sabhas, to be held on the lines of general gram sabhas, will have an agenda exclusively for women, particularly on the selection of suitable and deserving beneficiaries under different welfare schemes.

The government has felt the need for increased participation of women in the development process, and capacity building in matters like political leadership, gender equality, etc.

Special agenda

The special gram sabhas have been asked to take definite decisions and inform the same to them. Nutrition, health, legal awareness, prevention of domestic violence, women empowerment covering economic empowerment, social empowerment, provision of basic amenities, political empowerment and increasing educational status of women, have been linked to the agenda.

The government has directed the RDPR bureaucracy to identify the factors coming in the way of women and girl child development and prepare an agenda to address them. The concept of gender budgeting should be properly understood and appreciated and the funds available under it in different schemes should be made use.

The gram sabhas should encourage women to take a political initiative through which, they should take measures to arrest school dropout of girlchildren, provide access to education and make her avail computer and technical education to enhance her skills.

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