In a way, it was Maharashtra that gave the women empowerment mantra to the country. We tell you how and why with this report. Twenty years ago, the state government had embarked on a mission to empower women by introducing reforms in key sectors – legal, education, agriculture, health and electoral politics. The then Congress government, lead by chief minister Sharad Pawar, believed that “emancipation of women who constitute 50% of the population cannot be possible unless she is guaranteed social-economic support in every sector”. Sharad Pawar took the decision to create a separate department or Ministry named “Women and Child Development”. He then relinquished the home portfolio to head the newly-created ministry, thus signaling his commitment to the cause. He personally held consultations with senior bureaucrats in the ministry of finance and planning. Additional chief secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar was then appointed to draft a comprehensive women policy. The origins of the 33% reservation policy could be traced to the reforms undertaken by the state in 1994. Sharad Pawar had a clear vision and strong political will to herald the women policy. The women policy (1994) has been incorporated as part of the syllabus in Mumbai University and adopted in other states too. Bureau report – NMTV News.
January 5, 2009