General Assembly General Assembly

 

Statement by Mr. Chetan B. Sanghi
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development
Government of India

62nd Session of Commission on Status of Women

United Nations General Assembly

March 14, 2018

 

 

Mr. Chair, 

     The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has played a significant role in advancing the agenda to promote women’s rights internationally.  India has engaged actively in the deliberations for global norms setting by this Commission over the past seven decades. 

2.    Commission’s deliberations over the decades have focused on different aspects of women empowerment and we welcome this year’s theme that draws attention to rural women and girls. 

3.    Today, globally nearly half of the world population continues to live in villages.  In developing countries, the figure is higher.  In India, more than 400 million women live in rural areas.  This is nearly 70% of the total women population in India.  The theme of this session of CSW is, therefore, of great resonance for my delegation.

Madam Chair, 

4.    As Prime Minister Modi has highlighted on the occasion of the International Women’s Day last week, “India is moving from women development to women-led development”, the discourse on women’s empowerment is progressing from viewing women as recipients of welfare benefits to mainstreaming their concerns. 

5.    As one of the fastest growing economies of the world today, India is uniquely placed to deliver on its commitments to inclusive and sustainable development. 

6.    The Government is implementing a series of flagship programmes that focus on significantly expanding financial inclusion, healthcare, safety and security, education, employment, rural livelihood, entrepreneurship  etc. Contribution of rural women to our GDP growth and their central role in poverty reduction has been a key guiding factor in framing our policies. 

7.    Flagship programmes, including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the National Mission on Financial Inclusion and the Public Wealth Scheme, have brought in transformative changes by providing social security and financial inclusion. Women are the largest direct beneficiaries of these programmes. For instance 164 million more women now have bank accounts. 

8.    Loans worth US$ 161 billion in PPP terms have been extended to over 78 million women entrepreneurs in the last two years. 

9.    Measures such as ensuring provision of free cooking gas connections to 35 million women and toilets for girls in all schools have created enabling environment for rural women to participate more actively in economic pursuits. 

10.    Women Empowerment Centres have been launched as one-stop convergence support service for rural women with opportunities for skill development, digital literacy, health and nutrition and employment with student volunteers ensuring that all schemes can be accessed by rural women.

11.    Reservation of seats for women in local government down to the village level has given magnificent dividends. More than 1.3 million directly elected women representatives at the local government level are helping in formulating and implementing gender sensitive public policies in all parts of India.

Madam Chair,

12.    Combating all forms of discrimination and violence against women are integral to our national pursuit of forging inclusive society and development. The amendments to the Indian criminal law in 2013 and Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place Act 2013 provides enabling environment for women to participate in economic activities. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 comprehensively addresses the issue of violence against women in the domestic sphere.

13.    One Stop Centres are being set-up in various parts of the country with services to assist affected women with medical aid, police assistance, legal aid, psycho-social counselling and temporary support services, all under one roof. 

14.    A multi-sectoral package of interventions to improve Child Sex Ratio under the flagship programme 'BetiBachaoBetiPadhao - Celebrating Girl Child and Enabling her Education' has been launched.

Madam Chair,

15.    Though significant improvements have been achieved in the lives and well-being of women globally over the past few decades, rural women across the world continue to face multiple and intersectingchallenges. Asymmetrical division of labour, rights and assets coupled with their low participation in decision-making processesrender them vulnerable to discrimination and violence.

16.    India has been at the forefront of multilateral action in the implementation of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.India is one of the foremost signatories to the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Rights of the Child. 

17.    We remain committed to strengthen cooperation in advancing the goals of gender equality and empowerment of all women to ensure that women and men are accorded equal treatment and enjoy the same opportunities everywhere.

Thank you.