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Scheme for empowering women from minority communities


Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:01:12 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: In an effort to help women from minority communities make better use of government programmes, the Leadership Development of Minority Women scheme was launched in the capital Wednesday.


The ministry of minority affairs' scheme, which will target 32,000 women in the first year, aims to empower women by providing them knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with government, banks and government functionaries at all levels.


"The aim of this scheme is to make minority women more aware on all aspects. Like, how can you avail of a below poverty line (BPL) card, what is the price of commodities that you will have to pay if you are a BPL card holder, how can the Right to Information (RTI) Act help you and how can you file one are some of the questions whose answers will be given to them," Salman Khurshid, minister for minority affairs, said at a press meet here.


Besides awareness programmes on schemes and issues like education, employment, health, hygiene, immunisation and family planning, emphasis will also be paid on micro-credit to self-help groups.


According to Khurshid, the Sachar committee report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in India highlighted the fact that India's largest minority group, the Muslims, have been left out of the development trajectory and the women are doubly disadvantaged.


With this is mind, the women and child development ministry formulated a scheme for the empowerment of minority women in 2007-08. The scheme was transferred to the minority affairs ministry in 2009-10.


"Although the scheme is primarily for the women of the minority groups - Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians - 25 percent of women who stand to benefit from it will be from non-minority groups," Khurshid said.


"Thus, the scheme will bring together communities and work for the overall development of women," he added.


The scheme will be implemented through NGOs and in association with state governments. It will basically target women in the age group of 18-65.


"The scheme will take off in another two-three months. NGOs will be selected and the scheme will be implemented in totality by the year end. In the first year, 32,000 women are targeted, in the second year, 56,590 women will be targeted and then in the third year, it will be 93,000 women," Khurshid said.


An amount of Rs.480 million has been sanctioned for implementation of the scheme.






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