Rural Women: Key to New Indias Agrarian Revolution (December)

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India is celebrating 75 years of independence with “Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” and promulgating mission of warranting women as “Empowered Women-Empowered Nation” . The workforce participation rate for rural females (41 %) is much higher than the urban females (35.3 %) .

Since independence there several government schemes and programmes are initiated to improve rural women՚s socio-economic statute. Some of them are

  • Prime Minister՚s employment Generation Programme (PMEGP)
  • National Livelihoods Mission
  • Deen Dayal Upadhayay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Rural Women Workforce in Agriculture Sector

  • There is 80 % participation of rural women in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • 33 % as agricultural labour and 48 % are self-employed farmers.
  • They are involved at all levels of agricultural chain (production-pre harvest, post-harvest processing, packaging, and marketing) .
  • According to FAO,
    • Women are the momentous demographic group for sustainable food system
    • Women oriented reforms providing equal opportunities would increase agricultural output of a developing country between 2.5 and 4 % .

Gender Mainstreaming in Agriculture

  • Special beneficiary-oriented schemes are laid by Department of Agriculture and Farmers′ Welfare. These schemes provide for states and implementing agencies to incur at least 30 % expenditure on women farmer.
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers′ Welfare and Ministry of Rural Development launched some programmes for skill development and capacity building of women farmer.
    • Support to state Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms (ATMA Scheme)
    • Skill training courses in agriculture and allied sector.
  • Other initiatives of Ministry of Agriculture Gender sensitization Module, Farm Women Friendly Handbook, Compilation of best practices and success stories of women farmers.

Empowering Women Farmers: Skill and Capacity Building

Several inter-ministerial initiatives helped rural women to gain socio economic standard.

  • Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
    • Launched by Ministry of Rural Development
    • Aim is to provide skill development and capacity building programmes for rural women
    • A sub-component of DAY-NRLM where use of latest agriculture, allied techniques is imparted to women farmers. Implemented through state Rural Livelihoods Mission.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana- implemented by Ministry of skill Development and Entrepreneurship. It provides short duration skill training programmes.
  • Several research projects are led by ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar for enhancing participation of women in agriculture.
  • Several programmes by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers′ Welfare include food security by kitchen gardening, design and development of low-cost diet, processing and cooking, rural crafts, women and child care.
  • Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN) initiated by Department of Biotechnology to provide scientific solutions to farmers of north east.

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