Government initiative for the advancement of Women

Dr. Chitralekha Anshu*

The NaMo government of India has been committed to the development and growth of women since the beginning. The Women’s Reservation Bill has even been passed by the Lok Sabha to provide social justice and equality to half of India’s population. Be it urban women or rural women, they are definitely participating in some way or the other through the policies or benefits of this government. Those policies and schemes have been discussed here.

The Narendra Modi Government of India has implemented several schemes and programs to promote skill development among women from poor backgrounds. Initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Udyogini Scheme offer financial support, training, and placement assistance to empower women with skills.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) Launched by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, PMKVY aims to provide skill development training to individuals across various sectors, including women. It offers financial assistance and recognition of prior learning, facilitating the upskilling and certification of women in different trades.

Mahila Coir Yojana (MCY), Implemented by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MCY focuses on promoting women’s participation in the coir industry. It provides training, financial assistance, and marketing support to women involved in coir-related activities, enhancing their entrepreneurial and vocational skills.

Udyogini Scheme, this scheme operated by various state governments, offers financial assistance, training, and counseling to women entrepreneurs. It aims to facilitate the establishment and growth of women-owned micro and small enterprises, encouraging their active participation in vocational training and entrepreneurial ventures.

Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP), Implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, STEP focuses on enhancing the employability of women by providing vocational training and skill development. It supports various training programs across sectors and helps women secure job placements or start their own enterprises.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), NSDC plays a significant role in promoting skill development in India. While not exclusively focused on women, NSDC collaborates with various training providers and industry sectors to facilitate vocational training opportunities for women, ensuring inclusivity and gender sensitivity.

National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Women Empowerment Program-NSDC runs several skill development programs targeted at women. These programs aim to enhance women’s employability, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. They offer training in sectors such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, and beauty & wellness, among others.

Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP), launched by NITI Aayog, is an online platform that promotes and supports women entrepreneurs in India. It provides access to networks, resources, mentoring, and training programs, enabling women to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and succeed in their business ventures.

Stree Shakti Package for Women Entrepreneurs, the Stree Shakti Package, initiated by various banks and financial institutions, aims to promote entrepreneurship among women by providing financial assistance, training, and other support. It offers preferential treatment in terms of collateral-free loans, interest rate concessions, and specialized training programs to empower women entrepreneurs.

Some vocational training programs specifically target women from disadvantaged backgrounds, including those from poor socio-economic backgrounds. These programs aim to address their unique needs and challenges by offering flexible timings, childcare support, and financial aid. Skill development programs for women from poor backgrounds often emphasize entrepreneurship as a pathway to economic empowerment. By providing training in business management, access to finance, and mentorship support, women are encouraged to start their own businesses and generate income. Efforts are being made to address the challenges faced by women from poor backgrounds in accessing vocational training and skill development. However, continued investment in infrastructure, awareness campaigns, financial support, and targeted interventions are necessary to further improve the contemporary status of Indian women from poor backgrounds in this domain.

Vocational training equips women with industry-specific skills and knowledge, making them more competitive in the job market. By acquiring relevant vocational skills, women can access a broader range of job opportunities and increase their chances of securing formal and higher-paying employment. Skill development programs often include modules on entrepreneurship and business management. These programs empower women to start their own businesses or engage in self-employment ventures. By acquiring entrepreneurial skills, women can create sustainable livelihoods and contribute to their local economies. Vocational training programs provide a supportive learning environment where women can build confidence and self-esteem. By gaining practical skills, women develop a sense of accomplishment and belief in their abilities, which positively impacts their personal and professional lives. Through vocational training, women can become financially independent, reducing their dependence on others and improving their overall well-being. Earning their own income empowers women to make decisions, invest in their families, and contribute to household expenses, thereby transforming their social status within their families and communities. Vocational training programs challenge traditional gender roles by encouraging women to pursue non-traditional occupations. By entering fields traditionally dominated by men, women can challenge gender stereotypes, promote gender equality, and inspire other women to pursue their aspirations.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for Women’s development

NEP 2020 in India acknowledges the importance of vocational education and training for women’s empowerment and their participation in the workforce. The NEP 2020 emphasizes the need for gender-sensitive vocational education and training programs that cater to the specific needs and aspirations of women. It aims to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment that promotes equal opportunities and access to vocational education for women. The policy aims to integrate skill development programs into the school curriculum from an early stage, ensuring that both girls and boys have exposure to vocational training. This early exposure aims to break gender stereotypes and encourage girls to explore diverse vocational pathways.

The NEP 2020 emphasizes the importance of career guidance and counseling services to help women make informed choices regarding vocational education and training. It aims to provide personalized support to students, including girls, in exploring various vocational options, understanding skill requirements, and making informed career decisions. The policy recognizes the significance of promoting entrepreneurship among women. It seeks to provide women with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support systems to encourage entrepreneurial ventures. This includes providing access to mentorship, incubation centers, and financial resources for women interested in starting their own businesses. The NEP 2020 encourages collaboration between educational institutions and industries to ensure vocational education and training programs align with market demands. This collaboration can help create internship opportunities, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training for women, enhancing their employability and industry-relevant skills. The NEP 2020 aims to ensure equal access and participation of women in vocational education and training programs. It emphasizes the need to eliminate gender disparities and increase the enrollment of women in skill development courses. The policy emphasizes the development of gender-responsive curricula in vocational education and training programs. This involves integrating content that addresses gender-based stereotypes, promotes gender equality, and provides opportunities for women to develop skills in non-traditional sectors.

The NEP 2020 recognizes the multiple roles and responsibilities that women often have in their families and communities. To accommodate their needs, the policy encourages the provision of flexible learning options, such as part-time courses, distance learning, and online platforms. It also emphasizes the importance of creating a supportive and safe learning environment for women, including appropriate infrastructure and facilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of equipping women with relevant skills that align with industry demands. It focuses on providing vocational training programs that enhance women’s employability and entrepreneurial abilities, enabling them to secure gainful employment or start their own businesses.

*Academic Consultant, NIEPA, New Delhi