Saksham will make them self-reliant, gender-sensitive

The Union government on Thursday launched a new scheme for empowerment of adolescent boys.

Saksham is aimed at all-round development of adolescent boys to make them self-reliant, gender-sensitive and aware citizens as they grow up. This will help to address gender violence and channelise their energies for nation-building, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath has said.

The scheme will cover all adolescent boys (both school-going and out of school) in the age-group of 11-18, subdivided into the categories of 11-14 and 14-18.

In the first phase, Saksham will be implemented in 20 districts in seven States, on a pilot basis, for the benefit of nearly six lakh adolescent boys a year. A budget allocation of Rs. 100 crore has been made during the 12th Five Year Plan. During 2014-15, Rs. 25 crore has been allocated for the scheme.

The Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Boys, as it is also called, will also help to address the health needs — physical, mental and emotional — of boys and promote awareness of hygiene, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health.

It will also provide vocational skills to those aged above 16 years through the National Skill Development Program (NSDP) for future work-participation, besides life skill education and information on public services.

The structures under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) will be utilised as a platform. This will be supported by a dedicated Saksham unit/cell created at the Centre and in the State, district and block levels. The Anganwadi centre is the focal point for the delivery of the services; wherever Anganwadi infrastructure is inadequate, community centre, school or panchayat hall will be used. The Vocational Service Providers under the National Skill Development Programme, being implemented by the Ministry of Labour & Employment, will be used to offer vocational training.