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Women’s groups come up with charter to parties

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AIDWA members (from left) Pramila Pandhe, Nirmala Fenn, Jyotsana Chatterjee, Sudha Sundararaman and Annie Raja at a press meet in New Delhi on Tuesday.
AIDWA members (from left) Pramila Pandhe, Nirmala Fenn, Jyotsana Chatterjee, Sudha Sundararaman and Annie Raja at a press meet in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Aarti Dhar

Ensure passage of Women’s Bill, enact law to punish those guilty of communal violence, raise allocation for welfare schemes

NEW DELHI: Several women’s groups came together on Tuesday appealing to all political parties to ensure that their concerns are highlighted and the same become part of the mainstream political agenda in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Releasing a common charter, the groups called upon all the parties to ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, enact legislation to stringently punish those guilty of communal violence and increase allocation for social welfare schemes.

Addressing a press conference here, Sudha Sundararaman of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said successive governments had failed to enact the Women’s Bill and women across the country felt “let down,” particularly with the United Progressive Alliance that had incorporated it in its National Common Minimum Programme.

Demanding a separate law to address honour killings and acid attacks, the charter also sought special measures to provide financial support to victims of acid attacks. While it wanted registration of marriages to be made compulsory, it also sought reversal of dilution in the existing laws on crimes against women made through the recent amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code.

Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women said the government should implement special packages for the rehabilitation of women-headed families in distress situations, including in suicide-affected households.

The charter wanted that the farm loan waiver scheme must benefit women farmers also, including those indebted to private money-lenders. Loans at cheaper rates should be ensured.

While the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act should be extended to the urban areas also, the upper limit of 100 days employment should be removed, Ms. Raja said.

The women’s charter demanded legislation to stringently punish those guilty of communal violence in Kandhamal in Orissa and moral policing in Karnataka. The victims of such violence should be compensated for. Protection and rehabilitation of women and children affected by violence in conflict zones was another demand made.

All ministries and departments should implement a gender budgeting policy with one-third allocation of resources for women. It demanded allocation of 15 per cent of budgetary support in government schemes to minorities in minority-dominated areas.


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