July 16, 2014

women-policyOdisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar, July 16: The Odisha State Policy for Girls and Women was given approval by the Odisha Cabinet at a meeting held at the State Secretariat here on Wednesday.The Cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.Girls and women still face great challenges to their survival, well-being, protection and development.Prejudice begins right from the womb and continues throughout the lifespan, affecting their ability to achieve the full potential and be fully engaged members of the society.Patriarchal norms, values and practices embedded in the collective conscience coupled with systemic barriers pose multiple challenges preventing girls and women from enjoying their rights.The Odisha State Policy for Girls and Women has been framed against this background.A desk review and series of consultations with various stakeholders before the policy was framed provided the insights for the formulation of the policy which considers a lifecycle approach, covering concerns of girls and women at birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and the elderly.The focus areas of the policy are survival, health and nutrition; education; women in formal sector; women in informal sector; asset ownership; political participation, representation and decision making; safety, security and protection; and girls and women with special needs.Further, guiding principles have been outlined to translate the policy into action.In the policy, the elements of social inclusion, rights and entitlements, discriminatory social norms and values have been addressed through increased capacity building and strengthened institutional and legal framework.The policy provides the pathway to make laws and policies sensitive to girls and women through appropriate legislation, policies and schemes.Further, the use of gender disaggregated data to plan and monitor progress has been emphasised in the new policy.The policy will operate as an overarching guiding framework for planning and implementation by various state and non-state actors, so that the needs of girls and women are addressed affirmatively, according to official sources.Apart from having a separate unit in the Home Department to deal with crimes against women, the new policy suggests creation of a dedicated unit in Odisha State Employment Mission to promote and monitor women’s skill development and job linked training.It also has provision for setting up of single window systems to provide comprehensive support to women farmers on crops, financial services, technology, inputs and market linkage.Encourage the use of common land in rural areas by women self-help groups to cater to the fuel and fodder needs of the villages.Major highlights of the Policy- Record all homestead as well as agricultural land allotment made in favor of landless, homesteadless and displaced in the name of women- Ensure inheritance rights of women and reflect the rights in land record- Initiate different programmes on land literacy including entitlement and property for women- Prioritize vulnerable women including single women(widows, divorcee, abandoned women and unmarried women above 30 years) for housing support- Allot 4 decimal of homestead land to women above age 45 and not possessing any house, who are either divorced, separated, and women with 40 per cent disability above the age of 30 years.

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