Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (IC) for Women & Child Development inaugurated a two-day Conference on ‘Issues & Challenges for Development of Scheduled Tribe Women & Children’ in New Delhi today. The Conference organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development on 30th and 31st May at Vigyan Bhawan, is the second in a series of conferences on specific social groups of women. The first one was held on issues & challenges for development of Scheduled Caste women and children in January this year.
The Secretary, Women and Child Development, Shri D. K. Sikri in his welcome remarks emphasized that the planning processes need to provide for specific social groups to ensure inclusive growth. Smt. Krishna Tirath in her inaugural address drew attention to the fact that tribals lagged behind in most social indicators be it poverty, health or literacy and ST women and children were lagging behind even further. She stressed the need to focus on ST women and children during framing of tribal policies and budgets, and emphasized on the need to review the effectiveness of Tribal Sub Plan approach for reaching out to them. The National Programmes like MNREGA, ICDS, NRHM, and SSA have been all universalized and have the potential to address concerns of tribals and tribal areas. Smt. Krishna Tirath stressed the need to strengthen the coverage of tribal women and children under these programmes. She also mentioned the need to focus on issues of tribals related to forest rights, land alienation and distress migration with a gender perspective. Most importantly for curtailing the distress migration she highlighted the need to deal with concerns of migrant women workers through smart cards and registration of migrants by Panchayati Raj Institutions at the source and by the urban local bodies at the destination. A comparative analysis of the status of ST communities, particularly of women and children on some of the indicators such as literacy, workforce participation rate (WPR), health, availability of electricity, drinking water and household assets shows that concerted effort is required to bridge the gap between the ST population and the general population.