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How much has the Modi government done for women’s empowerment?

Schemes/policies for women were a big part of the BJP’s pre-election promises. How many of them have been fulfilled?
Published Apr 10, 2019 03:07pm
Jammu women after casting their votes during the fifth phase of Jammu and Kashmir Polls in Jammu, on December 20, 2014. | IANS
Jammu women after casting their votes during the fifth phase of Jammu and Kashmir Polls in Jammu, on December 20, 2014. | IANS

In its 2014 election manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party declared that women were “nation builders” and dedicated a large portion of its promises to them. The manifesto claimed that women’s security is a precondition for women’s empowerment, and listed a range of steps it would take to make women more secure and to provide them with more opportunities to be economically empowered.

Scroll.in takes a look at how many of those promises have been fulfilled in the past five years of the BJP government:

Providing 33% reservation for women in parliamentary and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment.

Status: Since the Women’s Reservation Bill lapsed in Parliament in 2014, there has been no progress on it. In fact, women make up only 11% of the current Lok Sabha, and BJP had offered only 8% of its tickets to women candidates during the 2014 election.


Launching a national campaign called Beti Bachao Beti Padhao for saving the girl child and educating her.

Status: The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme was launched in 2015 with the aim of addressing India’s warped child sex ratio. However, of the Rs 648 crore allocated towards the scheme since its launch, 56% has been spent on advertising and publicity, and only 25% has been disbursed to the states for actual implementation on the ground.


Setting up dedicated industrial training institutes for women, and setting up women wings in other such institutes.

Status: There was a boom in the establishment of new industrial training institutes across the country in 2015, and in 2017 the government announced plans to invest Rs 6,000 crore towards improving the quality of these institutes. But no special provisions were announced for industrial training institutes dedicated to women.


Strict implementation of laws related to women, particularly those related to rape.

Status: In April 2018, the government introduced the death penalty for those convicted of raping children below the age of 12, but no particular moves were made to improve the implementation of existing laws related to women.


Dispensing funds for relief and rehabilitation of rape victims that lay unused at the Centre.

Status: The Nirbhaya Fund, set up to compensate victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse, remained unspent from 2013 to 2016, even after the Modi government came to power. Till 2018-’19, it had a corpus of Rs 3,600 crore. In 2018, the government announced projects worth Rs 2,919 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund for creating “safe cities” – funds were allocated to eight cities for things like video surveillance, women’s safety patrol vans and improving safety in public transport. The government also approved setting up 1,023 fast track courts for hearing rape cases under this fund.


Creating an acid attack victims’ welfare fund to take care of the medical costs related to treatment and cosmetic reconstructive surgeries of such victims.

Status: In 2015, the Union government set up a Central Victim Compensation Fund for sexual abuse and acid attack survivors. Under the fund, acid attack victims are to be paid Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh within two months of filing a complaint. In 2017, the government approved an additional Rs 1 lakh as immediate relief for each acid attack survivor.


Making police stations women friendly and increasing the number of women in the police at different levels.

Status: Under the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, the percentage of women in India’s police force rose from 4.2% in 2010 to 6.1% in 2014. Under the Modi government, that figure rose to 7.2% in 2017 – not a significant rise.


Introducing self-defence as a part of the school curriculum.

Status: From 2015 to 2018, the Union government gave approvals for introducing self-defence in the curriculum of 1.7 lakh schools across the country, under its Samagra Shiksha scheme. The scheme provides for self-defence training for schools with girls, with a budget of Rs 9,000 per school.


Setting up an All Women Mobile Bank to cater to women.

Status: The UPA government established the Bharatiya Mahila Bank for women in 2013. The Modi government has not set up any new women banks or a mobile bank for women, but in 2017, it merged the Bharatiya Mahila Bank with the State Bank of India in order to expand its reach through the banking behemoth’s branches.


Setting up special business facilitation centre for women.

Status: No such centre has been set up.


Setting up a dedicated “Women Small and Medium Enterprises” cluster in every district.

Status: No such district-level cluster of small and medium enterprises run by women have been set up.


Reviewing the working conditions and enhancing the remuneration of anganwadi workers.

Status: Basic monthly honorariums for anganwadi workers were increased in November 2018 from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500. However, many workers are still not paid on time and their working conditions have not improved. Like previous governments, the Modi government continues to categorise anganwadi workers as volunteers, ignoring their long-standing demand to be given the status of government employees who can avail minimum wages.


Removing gender disparities in property rights, marital rights and cohabitation rights.

Status: In August 2018, the Law Commission recommended giving women equal share over property acquired after marriage, but the government has not taken up the recommendation so far. In the case of marital rights, the government put its weight behind petitioners demanding a ban on triple talaq in the Supreme Court, which deemed the practice to be unconstitutional in August 2017. A year later, the government passed a controversial ordinance making triple talaq a criminal offence, which has been criticised by some Muslim women’s groups as being unnecessary, discriminatory and not in the interests of Muslim women. However, the government has not made a move to codify Muslim personal law – a demand made by several Muslim women’s groups.


Starting a special adult literacy initiative for women, with a focus on Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and slum residents.

Status: No such initiative has been launched.


Ensuring that the loans to women self-help groups are available at low interest rates.

Status: The United Progressive Alliance government brought down interest rates for loans to women’s self-help groups from 11.5%-14% to 7% in 2013. The Modi government’s 2016-’17 guidelines maintained the interest rates at 7%.


This piece was originally published on Scroll.in and has been reproduced with permission.