“The Convergence Projects we are announcing today are historic as we are demonstrating convergence at all levels from municipality, councils, department to grassroots” stated Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development
Delhi, 19 August, 2012: Launching the first major set of Convergence Projects of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development emphasized that “a decisive beginning has been made.”
To demonstrate the vision of the program, an impressive array of projects with state governments, municipalities, tribal council, non-governmental organizations spread over Jammu and Kashmir, North East States of Meganlya, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura and Nagaland, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Orissa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra were announced at Vigyan Bhawan at the Launch Ceremony of Convergence Projects by Smt Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development with Shri V. Kishore Chandra S. Deo, Hon’ble Minister for Panchayati Raj and Shri Jairam Ramesh, Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development, Water and Sanitation as Guests of Honour.
The year-long initiative of NMEW including the setting up Porna Shakti Kendras at Pali and Kamrup districts, a new model of ’convergence centres’ for women dedicated to helping rural women to access the wide range of schemes and programs targeting them were showcased through a detailed presentation given on the occasion including the genesis of this Mission.
Sharing her testimony, Munni, one of the 300 Mahila Gram Samanvayaks, or Village Coordinators appointed by NMEW to advance the convergence program at Pali district, spoke about their stake in the program. “I was married early, my dreams were never allowed to fructify and I was denied my basic rights but today I have no regret because the Mission has helped me to reclaim what I lost, speak up, act locally, discourage the practice of early marriage and prevent girls from dropping out of school and leading a disempowered life.”
Taking this forward the Minister, Smt Tirath thanked government and non government partners including the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for their unstinting support to women’s empowerment and gave a clarion call to all to sustain the effort and mount a strong unified response to meet the demands, needs and entitlements of millions of women in rural and urban India. She referred to the “Mission as an all inclusive umbrella and platform for bringing together and converging the many programmes and schemes being spearheaded by different ministries and departments for the socio-economic development of women.”
Responding to the call, Shri Jairam Ramesh made it clear that his ministry is very committed to women and the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is fundamentally women-centred. Having said that he went on to acknowledge that there were many dimensions of the NMEW program he was not aware of and more importantly appreciated the effort made by the organizers for “sharing the grassroots voices” and then took the unprecedented step of announcing the support of Rs. 990 cores for the appointment of women ‘Gram Samanvayak’ officers at Gram Panchayats across the country.
Shri Kishore V Chandra Deo, referred to the collaboration between NMEW and Ministry of Panchayati Raj as a landmark partnership. “Together we will fight the problem of declining child sex ratio and change the mindset of people,” he declared
The thematic areas of the Convergence Projects included arresting child sex ratio with the active collaboration of Panchayati Raj, changing behaviour through communication to enhance the value of the girl child, designing a social inclusion plan for socially marginalized and excluded populations such as sex workers, studying the pathways to justice adopted in the tribal areas of North East, leveraging eco-tourism for women’s empowerment, strengthening local initiative & people’s participation to engender the planning process in District Council, addressing domestic violence through convergence forged at the police station, gender mainstreaming in municipal budgeting to cite a few.
In his opening address, Shri Prem Narain, Secretary of Women and Child Development traced the vision and all affirmative actions taken by the government to move ahead in vital areas of health, education, livelihood and access to social justice
Announced on March 8, 2010 on the occasion of International Women’s Day, NMEW signifies the focused effort the Government of India has taken to synergize all programs and policy striving to ensure holistic empowerment of women. The NMEW has 14 partner Ministries and Departments and works with all the State and Union Territory Governments, with the Ministry of Women and Child Development as the nodal ministry.
A Mission Directorate and a National Resource Centre for Women (NRCW), the implementing arm of the Mission, have also been set up and are now fully operational.