Mission Shakti is an umbrella scheme for the Safety, Security and Empowerment of Women.

Some key achievements under the Mission highlighted in the interim budget 2024-25 are:

  • The empowerment of women through entrepreneurship, ease of living, and dignity for them has gained momentum in these ten years.
    • Thirty crore Mudra Yojana loans have been given to women entrepreneurs.
    • Female enrolment in higher education has gone up by twenty-eight per cent in ten years. In STEM courses, girls and women constitute forty-three per cent of enrolment – one of the highest in the world. All these measures are getting reflected in the increasing participation of women in the workforce.
    • Declaring 'Triple Talaq' illegal.
    • Reservation of one-third seats for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies.
    • Giving over seventy per cent houses under PM Awas Yojana in rural areas to women as sole or joint owners have enhanced their dignity.

  • Other measures taken in the interest of women are in the medical sector and include:
    • Cervical Cancer Vaccination for girls in age group of 9 to 14 years for prevention of cervical cancer.
    • Various schemes for maternal and child care will be brought under one comprehensive program for synergy in implementation.
    • Upgradation of Anganwadi centers under "Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0" will be expedited for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care and development.
    • Healthcare cover under Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.

Keeping in line with the G20 Summit Declaration which has brought focus on 'women-led development' and 'gender-inclusive climate action' while reaffirming that "gender equality is of fundamental importance, and that investing in the empowerment of all women and girls has a multiplier effect in implementing the 2030 Agenda", India has provided momentum to the Mission Shakti to focus on closing the gender pay gap and ensuring women's equal access to decent work and quality jobs and providing safe and secure work environment.

Much laudable is the progressive step by the Labour Ministry advisory to employers to encourage participation of women in the workforce with emphasis on balance between employment and care responsibilities, adequate representation of women in management positions, supporting women entrepreneurs and eliminating gender bias in recruitment, promotion and performance review.

It said that "every employer should promote women in management and leadership roles, promote women run enterprises in the value chain, mitigate unconscious biases in recruitment, promotion and evaluation of women employees while undertaking periodic audits to rectify gender pay gaps."

The ministry has laid out 10 statutory provisions in the existing labour laws which the employer needs to adhere to while hiring women workers. These include provisions related to health, safety, social security, wage and work hour related provisions, migration and night shift laws along with other welfare measures to ensure overall well-being and working conditions for women.

In my opinion the aforesaid measures will propel more women in the workforce with quality jobs, remove underlying biases and disparity, shift in cultural understanding of women being an asset thereby leading to a 'Viksit Bharat'.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.