Pam Rajput Committee on Status of Women in India
The Pam Rajput committee recently submitted its interim report on “Status of Women in India” to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).
The MWCD had appointed a 14-member High Level Committee, headed by Pam Rajput, in Feb 2012 to make a comprehensive study on the status of women since 1989 and give recommendations on necessary policy actions based on the present needs of women. Pam Rajput is a professor at Panjab University.
- Government should formulate a National Policy and Action Plan to end violence against women.
- It has strongly supported the passage of Women’s Reservation Bill which has been hanging fire in Lok Sabha after being passed by the Upper House in 2010. However, it has called for 50% reservation instead of the current 33% reservation provided in the bill.
- A separate committee should be set up to study the status of Muslim women in the country. Such a committee should study the impact of identity politics on Muslim women as such politics leads to communal riots and revives forces that impose outdated values on women, further alienating them from all empowerment initiatives.
- To reflect the government’s concern on women’s issues, Minister of Women and Child Development should be upgraded to the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
- Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women must examine the gender implications of all proposed legislation.
- The National Commission for Women must go beyond ‘reactive interventions’ to fulfil the proactive mandate of studying, recommending and influencing policies, laws, programmes and budgets to ensure full benefits to women.
- Focussing on the need to bring about major changes in the criminal justice system, the committee suggests initiatives ranging from a more gender sensitive enforcement machinery to greater awareness of different legislation and their inter-connectedness, along with accountability for securing women’s rights.
- India should revisit its two-child norm as it is related to missing girl children.
- The government should initiate dialogues with Hindu religious leaders to arrest the falling sex ratio. Hindu religious leaders should be convinced to ask their community to include daughters in rituals and practices. This will bring down son preference related to socio-cultural practices.
- Marital and sexual choices should be protected through amendments to IPC section 377.