Posted in UPSC

GS 2 Mains 2017/15

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15. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer.

Hints:

National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body constituted in 1992 under National Commission for Women Act, 1990 and seeks to preserve and promote the rights of women. Women face a lot of challenges and discrimination in every sphere of life, starting from nutrition, education, inheritance rights, salaries, etc.

Success in tackling problems of women:

• It supported the shah Bano case as a legal means to reform the harsh laws of Islam.

• Did Field surveys for collection of data on the status of Muslims women for a rational response.

• Recommended reforms in legislations and policies of the State.

• Made campaigns to enforce recommendations of Sachar Committee for reservations in educational institutions and jobs besides empowering women.

• It has acted suomoto and provided speedy justice in many cases, reviewed Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994 and many other women centric laws.

• It organizes workshops, seminars for the awareness drive.

• Has been active with respect to victims of NRI marriages.

Concerns:

• Members are mostly linked to political party in power, so they can’t be expected to go against any policy or action of the government.

• Members have been, at times, accused of victim blaming and made regressive statements against gender and sexuality.

– Commission has been in controversy during Guwahati molestation case, and Mangalore pub attack case and by controversial statements made by members of the commission.

• Lack of adequate funds allocated to body depriving it of helping a complainant financiallyand supporting campaigns of any kind.

• Its composition is basically of Government nominated members. As such the independence of working is lacking in the NCW.

• Even though it has been provided with quasi-judicial functions the implementation of them seems abysmal.

• It could not change the patriarchal mindset established in the society. The way people think about women in India is a big cause for concern. People think women have to be submissive and obedient, that they cannot question the family, and cannot be independent. 

• Powers are recommendatory and not mandatory.

• Lack of power to summon individuals before it unlike National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

• Chandigarh, which has one of the worst sex ratios, does not even have a women’s commission

• Members belonging more often to the political and bureaucratic class makes it amenable to political interference.

Suggestions:

• More autonomy should be given to the commission and appointments for posts should be strictly merit based without any political agenda.

• Selection of politically neutral members who have contributed to or have a deep understanding of issues related to women’s’ rights.

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