Mahila Samakhya Programme

  • The Mahila Samakhya programme was launched in 1988 to pursue the objectives of the National Policy on Education, 1986.
  • The National Policy on Education, 1986 recognised that the empowerment of women is possibly the most critical pre-condition for the participation of girls and women in the educational process.

It recognised that education can be an effective tool for women’s empowerment, the parameters of which are:

  • enhancing self-esteem and self-confidence of women;
  • building a positive image of women by recognizing their contribution to the society, polity and the economy;
  • developing ability to think critically;
  • fostering decision making and action through collective processes;
  • enabling women to make informed choices in areas like education, employment and health (especially reproductive health);
  • ensuring equal participation in developmental processes;
  • providing information, knowledge and skill for economic independence;
  • enhancing access to legal literacy and information relating to their rights and entitlements in society with a view to enhance their participation on an equal footing in all areas.

Significance

  • It stood out for its different approach. Bringing both central and respective state governments to the table, it also included and consulted women’s groups and voluntary organisations.
  • Its aim was to work in areas where female literacy was low, and to innovate in bridging the gender gap in literacy.
  • Rather than just focusing on literacy, it took a cue from the National Policy on Education 1986 that had stated that “education will be used as an agent for basic change in the status of women.” To do this, sanghas or collectives of the poorest and most marginalised women were formed with the help of local voluntary organisations.
  • Through these sanghas, the women received not just basic literacy skills but also learned how to get information about their rights and entitlements, what to do about employment, legal literacy and health (including reproductive health). The sangha members were viewed as “active agents in their empowerment” rather than passive recipients of welfare or charity.

Performance Evaluation

  • National evaluation by the Ravi J Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in November 2014, done at the behest of the central government, is largely positive
  • The 2014 evaluation records the very real changes that had come into the lives of sangha women both in the public arena and in their private spaces.
  • At the time of last year’s review, the programme had grown from the initial pilot in 1989 to one spread over 130 districts in 11 states, 679 blocks/mandals and with a presence in 44,446 villages. There were 55,402 sanghas with over half the members from the lowest castes. Altogether there were well over 14 lakh women members of sanghas organised into 325 federations.
  • Of these, around five lakh women were in savings and credit groups (21,825) and the programme also innovated through its Mahila Shikshan Kendras and Nari Adalats (women’s courts).
  • The programme is also credited with preparing women to participate in panchayati raj institutions. Over the years, 30,390 sangha members had contested panchayati raj elections and 12,905 were elected.
  • The evaluation concluded that, “[the] approach to empowerment, which begins by addressing multiple modes of discrimination first has heldMS [Mahila Samakhya] in good stead.”

The central government however decided to stop funding the programme from March 2016. Without these funds, although some parts of the programme could still survive, it would be scaled down drastically, ultimately leading to its closure. Academics, women’s activists and others have expressed disquiet at the impending closure of this innovative and globally acknowledged women’s empowerment programme

Related Posts
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2015
Denmark the least corrupt country, India at 76th position India has climbed nine points to rank 76th in this year’s global corruption index topped by Denmark, with watchdog Transparency International calling ...
READ MORE
Scientists have set out to explore the medicinal properties of the Ganga water This will help to either use the pristine water or elements isolated from it in clinical therapies. While four ...
READ MORE
Gamaka Tradition
10th Akhila Karnataka Gamaka Kala Sammelana 10th Akhila Karnataka Gamaka Kala Sammelana was held in Bangalore Nearly 100 Gamakis took part in this event. The Gamakis are also singing modern verses written in ...
READ MORE
PM Narendra Modi Visit to US
Second visit of PM Narendra Modi to USA commenced on 24 September 2015 after his stopover visit to Ireland. The primary agenda: To garner support for ‘Make in India’ ‘Skill India’ and ...
READ MORE
Health Ministry – AIIMS to set up National Death Registry
The Health Ministry in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will start a National Death Registry for information about each and every death in hospitals across ...
READ MORE
Deloitte-CII survey on manufacturing firms
India’s increasingly young workforce appears to have signalled the beginning of the end for the trade union movement in the country The survey of over 8,000 employees in a dozen large ...
READ MORE
explaining capital goods
National Capital Goods Policy was introduced to spur capital goods sector and the Make in India initiative. It was unveiled during the Make in India Week programme Objective  Increase production of capital goods from Rs. ...
READ MORE
Aviation MRO in the country is currently worth $ 700 million and is set to reach $ 2 billion by 2020 Maintenance, repair and operations(MRO)  involves fixing any sort of mechanical, ...
READ MORE
Kerala becomes first State in India to roll out LNG-powered bus
A new chapter in the country’s transport sector has been initiated which moves towards clean fuel, India’s first liquefied natural gas-driven bus was launched in Kerala. Union Petroleum and Natural Gas ...
READ MORE
Special Agricultural Zone (SAZ)
The Agriculture department is working out the modalities to set up Special Agricultural Zones (SAZ) in different parts of the state to provide greater technological and logistic support to farmers ...
READ MORE
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2015
Ganga water for medicinal properties
Gamaka Tradition
PM Narendra Modi Visit to US
Health Ministry – AIIMS to set up National
Deloitte-CII survey on manufacturing firms
National Capital Goods Policy
Maintenance, repair and operations(MRO) industry
Kerala becomes first State in India to roll
Special Agricultural Zone (SAZ)