In the conception of New India, women-led development has been a central theme for the Modi government. In its previous term, it took a number of steps to enhance quality of life for women at all life stages as well as remove hurdles-social, economic, political-on their path to reach their full potential.
Within 100 days of its assuming power in its second term, the Modi government as continued to set the ball rolling on reforms to bring alive its vision of women-led development. Standing true to its word, it passed the bill banning the archaic practice of Instant Triple Talaqand supporting Muslim women in their fight against gross injustice. It has made Triple Talaq a punishable offence with three in years in jail and a fine. Due to this regressive practice, lakhs of Muslim women faced hardships without any scope of redressal. However, the law is bound to act as a safeguard, bringing their rights at par with the rest of the women in the country.
The Code on Wages Bill, 2019 passed by the Parliamentcorrects a substantial wrong in the gender wage gap. It removes discrimination against women and promises them equal wage as per their male counterparts. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that increases the maximum period of paid maternity leaves to 26 weeks from 12 weeks, has proven to be highly advantageous for the female workforce. In the budget 2019, the women self help groups have received a boost with the expansion of the interest subvention programme. Every woman SHG member with a verified Jan Dhan account will also get an overdraft facility of Rs. 5000.
The initiatives it took in its first term are still bearing fruits. In the first 100 days of the 2019 term, 80 lakh consumers have been added under the UjjwalaYojana. The toilet construction under the Swachh Bharat Mission has been a major success with India achieving 100 per cent sanitation nation-wide and ensuring dignity to women who were earlier forced to defecate in the open.
With such path-breaking decisions, the Modi government has demonstrated its deep commitment to nurture our Nari Shakti.
Discrimination against girl child has posed grave challenge to the Indian society. In order to fight the menace that leads to social depravities such as female feticide, the Modi government has led a number of initiatives to raise awareness on protecting the girl child. ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhao’ has been instrumental in changing societal mindsets that perceive girl child as a burden. As a result, the all-India sex ratio has risen from 923 in 2015-16 to 931 girls per 1000 boys till March 2019. Haryana has shown stupendous improvement in this regard, with female sex ratio increasing to 914 in 2018-19 from 887 girls per 1000 boys in 2015-16.
Prime Minister NarendraModi has been at the forefront of such initiatives. He has used the power of social media to reach the maximum number of people in real-time and put forth his message. Earlier, he had triggered a social frenzy with his #SelfieWithDaughtercampaign, wherein people posted photos with their daughters, some of which the prime minister himself shared. In the current context, he has urged people to celebrate the achievements and talents of ordinary women doing extraordinary deeds in pursuance of national goals by sharing their stories on social media using the #BharatKiLaxmi. He has aptly used the festive occasion of Diwali to show that women of today are not only being part of change, but they are the ones leading the change and to find such women, one has to not go too far from their own immediate neighbourhood.
This way, Prime Minister NarendraModi has kept the discussion on women’s welfare alive in the public consciousness, thus helping women break glass ceiling at a faster speed and a bigger scale.