National Policy for Older Persons (1999) & National Policy for Women (2001)

The features of the National Policy for Older Persons (1999) may be stated as follows:

  1. The objective of the policy is the well-being of older persons, aiming to strengthen their legitimate place in society and help them live with grace, dignity and peace.
  2. It promises all support with regard to financial security, healthcare and shelter, welfare to the older persons, providing protection against abuse and exploitation. It seeks their participation, and assure them the services to improve the quality of their lives.
  3. It recognizes the need for affirmative action for the elderly, ensuring them that their rights would not be violated and that they would get all the opportunities and equitable share in the development of the society.
  4. Its thrust is on active and productive involvement of older persons and not just their physical and mental care.
  5. It values an age-integrated society, i.e., it attempting to strengthen integration between generations and strengthens bonds between the young and the old.
  6. It recognizes that the older persons, too, are a resource, who can render useful services in the society.
  7. It advocates the empowerment of older persons so that they can acquire better control over their lives and participate in decision-making on matters which affect them as well as the others.
  8. It emphasizes the need for expansion of social and community services for older persons, particularly women.
  9. It assures them their financial security, including tax exemption; healthcare facilities and other subsidies.
  10. It recognizes the fact that the older persons, specially the poor and women, are guaranteed all the basic necessities of life.

There still exists, in our society, a wide gap between men and women as found in almost all fields’economy, politics, family affairs, society. Gender disparity is seen itself in numerous forms: we still celebrate the birth of the son in the family; we still consider women a second-rate citizen; we still do not give the women their liberties to wear anything they like and move anywhere they like. Our social, economic and cultural structure still favours the male.

The Government of India has announced a National Policy for the Empowerment of Women 2001:

The main features of this policy can be, briefly, stated as:

  • Creation of a favourable atmosphere for women to attain their full potential.
  • Development of positive economic, social and intellectual policies to help attain their status in the society.
  • Provision for the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as enjoyed by men.
  • Equal participation on matters relating to decision making in the social, political, economic, and cultural life of the society.
  • Special attention for women’s healthcare, education, career, safety and dignity.
  • Assurance of all safeguards provided to women in the Constitution and the laws so to eliminate discrimination, exploitation and violence against them.
  • Elimination of societal old customs like social evils, patrimonial practices etc. so to create a balance society.
  • Development of gender equality perspective.
  • Removal of all forms of violence against women; and
  • Building and strengthening equal partnership in civil society.
  • Numerous acts/legislations with regard to the welfare of women have been passed and are being implemented.

Mention may be made of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956; the Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986; the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987; the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006; the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

The Lok Sabha has passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace bill in 2012. SABLA is a new centrally sponsored scheme which focuses on all out-of-school adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 18 years. There is new scheme for the welfare of pregnant and lactating women in 52 districts in 2010-11. It is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant women of 19 year and above for their first two births.

The STEP Scheme was launched in 1986-87 for giving support for training and employment programme for women. The Priyadarshini and Swadhar are other schemes for women. Stree Shakti Puraskar is given in the name of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, Kannagi, Mata Jijabai, Rani Gaidenlion Zeliang, Rani Lakshimi Bai, Rani Rudramma Devi.

Indian Polity and Governance