Friday 17 July 2015

Report of High Level Committee on Status of Women

Why in news?
Submitted its final report. (can be used in answers on social issues, essay, etc.)


  • The High Level Committee on Status of Women was set up by the UPA government in 2013 to do a comprehensive study on the status of women since 1989, and to evolve appropriate policy interventions based on a contemporary assessment of economic, legal, political, education, health and socio-cultural needs of women. 
  • The first such committee was set up 42 years ago in 1971 on the request of the United Nations.
  • The present committee submitted an interim report in 2014 and recently submitted its final report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Details of the report:

  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) repealed, 
  • gay sex decriminalised and 
  • at least 50% reservation for women at all levels of legislature, right up to Parliament.
    • Gender parity in governance and political participation is a pre-requisite to the realisation of gender equality. 
      • A 33 per cent reservation for women is ensured through Constitutional amendments. 
      • In some States it is 50 per cent. 
        • However, there is nothing like ‘natural transition’ from the Panchayats to the State Assemblies and the Parliament, where the representation of women continues to be dismal.
  • called for several legislative interventions -  dealing with violence against women
  • need to devise mechanisms for dealing with cases of extra judicial killings and arbitrary detention of women by state officials and security forces.
  • The committee in its report also called “India’s missing girls”, the problem of skewed sex ratio due to cultural preferences for sons, a “national shame”.
  • A gender score card for all those in public life
  • All elected representatives — MPs, MLAs and members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies — should be accountable for the sex ratio in their respective constituency, district and village, inviting rewards and recognition for progress, and prosecution for negligence, inaction, and complicity.
    • It cited the example of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments that recently announced incentives for villages with improved sex ratio.
  • In the section on marriage and divorce laws, the report — while calling for amending the Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 relating to adultery — noted: “Women are not possessions of their husbands".

[Source: Indian Express]


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