Expanding Women’s Role in Decision Making

Published By : Admin | March 14, 2019 | 14:49 IST

Women are an integral part of Indian history and culture. Right from Hindu mythology to India’s struggle for independence to being the fastest growing economy of the world, women have played very strong and decisive role in shaping narratives across capacities. India, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken that legacy forward and entrusted women with responsibilities that they are capable of shouldering. There have been concerted efforts to ensure meaningful representation across professions and empowerment of women at the lower rung of the social strata. These initiatives are beyond the realms of gender equality. They espouse to motivate women to take up fresh challenges and inspire women to chase their dreams in a secure environment.

Unlike some leaders who have trivialized the role of Defence Minister on account of her gender, the Narendra Modi Government has gone out of its way to enlarge women’s role in highest rungs of decision making in the country. The policy interventions by the government have equipped and empowered women to take on leadership roles in their communities, organisations and households. This is a clear departure from the tokenism practiced by the UPA. Right from ignoring issues related lack of women representation within the party to promoting daughters and wives of well-known politicians, there was little for self-made women in the era. Women need not be restricted to issues related to women. We need to channel their capabilities beyond their gender, and this has been practiced by the Modi Government in both, spirit and action.

Representation for All

• With 9 women in the Council of Ministers, two women in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) (a first for India) including the first full-time defence Minister, the leadership is actively breaking the glass ceiling for women by its own actions. For the common citizens, this representation is not limited to the particular name or number. It sends out a very encouraging signal to the larger population, i.e., it is possible for women from common families, sans any famous surname, to go out and make a mark for themselves solely based on their capability and competency.

• On multiple occasions it was observed that due to lack of training, decision-making for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats had continued to be driven by male family members. This defeated the purpose of 33% reservation for women in the panchayat bodies. The Ministry of Women & Child Development launched a nation-wide training programme for Elected Women representatives (EWRs) of Panchayats with the objective to enhance their capacity, capability and skill in governance and administration of villages

• The Indian female CEO of a unicorn startup hails from a common family. This is significant because young girls in India are able to chase their dreams with complete support from policy and lawmakers.

• One of the largest angel investor clubs in the country has noted that the number of ideas coming from women has increased from 10% (2014) to 30% (2018).

• In 2018, three women were inducted as fighter-pilots in the Indian Air Force. For every young girl who was conditioned to believe she has gender-based constraints that prevented her from fighting for her motherland, this was a welcome departure.

Empowerment for All

• Over 9 crore women constituting over 74% of the beneficiaries, have benefitted jointly from Mudra & Stand-Up India. These women entrepreneurs are India’s social ambassadors of women empowerment. They are not only financially independent, they are also in a position to support more women by creating livelihood opportunities for them.

• A lot of girls would drop out of school or be absent during menstruation due to lack of sanitation facilities. Significant increase in enrollment of girls in secondary schools has been observed, primarily due to access to toilets at school. As per Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) 2015-16, the girl’s enrolment in secondary education has increased to 80.97% against 76% in 2013-14.

• By giving access to a basic utility like cooking gas, we have empowered women with additional time, which they can choose to use at their own will.

• 75% of the house-owners of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) are women. This is an unprecedented level of social security that has been conferred on women.

The task of Narendra Modi led NDA was not limited to social empowerment or financial independence for women. The mandate was to deliver both, in adequate proportions, depending on the educational, social and economic position of the beneficiary. For a woman who not only had to work her way through gender-bias, but often work doubly hard to prove her mettle, times have changed significantly both at personal and professional fronts. As investors look beyond gender, it must be noted that shift in opportunities and resources for women can be observed in both rural and urban areas.

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"Building Atmanirbhar Bharat Through Comprehensive Job Creation"
February 24, 2024

One of the most effective pathways of aspirational and practical self-actualization for citizens of a nation is employment generation at scale and expanse. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been cognizant of this need and has moved the needle comprehensively so that job creation today is happening across the spectrum: in the formal and informal sectors, through direct and indirect opportunities, in conventional and unconventional fields, and via self-employment and the opening up of multiple avenues for gigs, start-ups and novel entrepreneurship.

Government Initiatives
If on the one hand, Bharat is seeing the exponential growth in the number of start-ups and a conducive environment has made it one that has the largest number of unicorns, on the other hand a record number of Mudra loans sanctioned have fuelled unprecedented women-led growth, and the Agniveer scheme that aims to recruit youth into the Armed services has seen adoption in record numbers. According to a Harvard University research, India is among the top quartile of fastest-growing countries till 2029 and is undergoing a historic transition towards becoming a more formalized and technologically advanced, digitally evolved nation.

In the three years between 2017-18 and 2020-21, total employment increased by 8.4 crore which is a manifestation of several key factors such as demonetisation, rationalisation of taxes, the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), digital inclusivity and digitisation of financial transactions, inclusion of skill development and vocational training in the National Education Policy, increasing the number of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), a fillip to the hitherto marginalized segments such as rural and tribal populace, and effective incentivization for a highly labour dominant unorganized sector. An example is how PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), has benefitted more than 56 lakh rehri or street vendors from June 2020 to November 2023.

Immense positive impact can be seen in the nation’s formal employment sector. India is the 5th largest economy in the world with 1.12 crore net additional employment created between 2015 to 2018. This is a result of the confluence of progressive, pro-industry policy decisions, leveraging of advancements in technology, reforms to ease business investment, and a focus on skilling. An example of how this translates on the ground is that with the PM MUDRA Yojana More than 15 crore people have been employed in the MSME sector out of which 3.4 crore are women.

In the IT Industry alone, around 20 lakh people have been employed between 2013-14 and 2021-22. Indirectly, about 6.24 crore jobs were created between 2014 and 2019 in India’s digital economy. When it comes to a boost in employment generation across sectors, let’s take the example of tourism – a revamped and increasingly attractive tourism and hospitality industry led to 1.9 crore indirect jobs being created in the tourism sector between 2017 and 2020. The overhaul in the hospitality sector has led to the creation of many such jobs directly, and indirectly; India is among the most visited countries in the world and has been experiencing a growing influx of tourists. This has led to business incentivization and a boost to local artisans, transport providers, and hotels and restaurants within the larger hospitality service industry. In Air transport alone, for every Rs. 100/- invested in the sector, 610 indirect jobs are generated.

Infromal Sectors
The winds of change can also be seen in the disruptive as well as informal sectors. Providing security and stability to the unconventional health and wellness, since 2014, about 5.65 lakh practitioners have been provided employment under Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The introduction of several new reforms, an increase in FDI, which have further helped in improving the ‘ease of doing business’ along with low data costs, improvised processes and ready adoption have created a thriving new ecosystem for employment – the gig and platform economy. Gig-economy jobs grew year-on-year by 13% and over 29.20 crore people have registered so far on the E-Shram portal. From 2016 to May 2022, ‘Hunar Haat’ has created employment avenues for over 10.5 lakh artisans and talented Vishwakarmas.

The continuing chain of beneficiaries in the government’s Gati shakti model include processes that act as catalysts for indirect job creation in sectors such as transport, logistics, mobility, food, consumer goods and manufacturing products. Up to 2021-22, 53,696 km of roadways were created which generated 21.8 crore man-days of employment. As mentioned before, round 6 crore people employed in unorganized sector between 2017-18 and 2019-20 have benefited from the SVANidhi Yojana – making PM Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas aur Sabka Prayas a quintessential facet of employment for all.

People-first policies such as the flagship program for equitable housing, the PM Awas has created 2.39 crore indirect jobs up to 2022. Another great example of the ripple effect of employment generation can be seen in the form of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes which enable the expansion of existing industries into larger ones, while promoting the creation of new ones. As an example, 5 lakh incremental jobs have been created in the mobile manufacturing sector due to PLI. As per the Economic Survey 2023, PLI schemes are slated to create 60 lakh jobs. In addition, India’s fintech adoption rate of 87% as against the world average of 64% has enabled the creation of an ecosystem that is touching the lives and livelihoods of all – including the self-employed and small business owners.

To this end, Rozgar Melas that aim to provide 10 lakh jobs in less than two years, and that meld employment opportunities and unique talent have been a boon for the economy. Rozgar Mela is a key step towards the fulfilment of the commitment to accord the highest priority to employment generation in the country. On 12th February, 2024, PM Modi distributed more than 1 lakh appointment letters to newly inducted recruits and also lay the foundation stone of Phase I of the Integrated Complex “Karmayogi Bhavan” to promote collaboration and synergy amongst various pillars of Mission Karmayogi. “Rozgar Melas are playing a crucial role in enhancing the contribution of our Yuva Shakti in nation building”, said PM Modi. Rozgar Mela will be held at 47 locations across the country this year with recruitments taking place across central government departments and state governments/UTs supporting this initiative. These melas ascribe gainful opportunities to the youth, the Amrit Generation, and create pathways for their direct participation in national development. Similarly, under the Prime Ministers Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), over 43.77 lakh people have got employment and the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) has led to the placement of over 24.51 lakh candidates.

As policy making becomes efficient, so do its representative tools; more than 19.9 lakh people have been placed in jobs through employment exchanges between 2017-2022. The government has incessantly been taking many measures to tackle unemployment issues and stem the unemployment rate. The Amrit generation is benefitting from a multi-pronged approach; if on the one hand, Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), has benefitted around 2.94 lakh from 2014-15 to December 2022, on the other hand, over 1.80 lakh new job-creators and entrepreneurs are now operating under the Stand-Up India scheme.

New India – Naya Bharat – is one that thrives on a developed mindset with the aim of making the country Atmanirbhar, and a Vishwa Mitra – one the world leans on. As an example of this commitment, in the current financial year, Khadi has achieved a historic milestone by generating over 9.54 lakh new jobs. Be it our push towards renewable energy, creating a decarbonized energy sector which ranks India is 4th globally or the reduction of unemployment rate in rural areas, (decreased from 5.3% in 2017-18 to 2.4% in 2022-23) the commitment of PM Modi’s government to decisively mitigate unemployment stays foremost.

A spurt in the employment index is predicated on employment mobility to higher productivity jobs, rising job rates in secondary and tertiary sectors, promotion of women as economic catalysts and the increased formalisation of the unorganized, informal sector. PM Modi’s government has consistently come good on all the parameters which is the reason why milestone, upon milestone, Bharat’s journey towards becoming Atmanirbhar and the world’s third largest economy, is only a matter of time.