Skill her, skill India : Policy must enable every woman to achieve her potential

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Be it the 1857 mutiny for India’s freedom or the struggle for Independence, our women have always made India proud. Even today, women are performing their duties with full devotion for the development …

Mahendra Nath Pandey

On March 8, we honour and celebrate women on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. Women in our country are making strides in social, financial and political fields. It brings me great personal joy to write a few words to commemorate this day dedicated to women.

Be it the 1857 mutiny for India’s freedom or the struggle for Independence, our women have always made India proud. Even today, women are performing their duties with full devotion for the development of the country and upliftment of the society: They are working efficiently in various fields, such as academics, literature, music and dance, sports, media, business, information technology, science and technology, politics and social development.

Not only this, Indian women from metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai are breaking barriers in fields ranging from politics to the corporate sector. Also, women are giving society a new direction through their leadership and critical participation in panchayat elections. Increasing awareness and clear intentions are the reason behind women strengthening economic, social and cultural establishments. This is very important for a democratic system.

There is a constant evolution of female participation in the corporate sector. Female participation is constantly increasing in the Information Technology sector. Along with the IT sector, the presence of women is also increasing in the banking and finance sector. Last year, the Indian Space Research Organisation decided to hand over the command of Chandrayaan-2 to two women, and these women also played a key role in the mission.
As a mark of respect and honour for our women, it has been stated in our ancient scriptures that “Yatr naaryastu poojyante ramante tatr devata”, which means “God resides where women are worshipped”. It is true that if we link our ancient cultural heritage with our modern approach to encourage our women in all fields, then we will carry forward our country’s and society’s tradition. This is why we will have to give our daughters the best education possible and dedicate them to our country’s growth.

It is my opinion that, in order to empower women, we should first make them skilled. When a woman is educated and skilled, she also makes a family and society educated and skilled. As long as women are not fully educated, skilled and prosperous, the country cannot achieve the desired economic growth.

Our government is running many schemes for women’s empowerment such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila E-haat Scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Sakhi Yojana, Ladli Yojana, Digital Laado and the Swachh Bharat Mission. Our government is also working extensively on women’s nutrition.

I am happy that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Women and Child Empowerment, and Human Resource Development are working closely in this regard.

We know that every person has a unique skill-set. What is needed is a mechanism to ensure that that skill-set is identified and honed in the best possible way. As the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship minister, it is my fundamental responsibility to ensure that all women in our country from different occupations are trained in their respective skill-sets and are employable. We would like them to put to best use their skill-set to become self-employed entrepreneurs and progress. We have also been successful in achieving this objective at a fast pace.

Around 68.12 lakh women in India have been trained under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikaas Yojana 2.0. Under the Jan Shikshan Sansthan Scheme, around 4.08 lakh women have been trained in the 2018-2020 period, while 38.72 lakh women have been trained in Industrial Training Institutes (ITI). At present, there are 18 National Skill Training Institutes across the country to train women. Special batches are being conducted to provide basic, theoretical and advanced training to women.

It is a matter of joy and pride that while women in India are studying electronics, fashion design, technology and business management, there are also those who hone their new-age skills in artificial intelligence, data analytics, 3D printing, etc. Along with traditional skills like beauty, wellness and healthcare, women are also progressing quickly in non-traditional skills such as electronics and hardware
The National Rural Livelihood Mission has strengthened women’s skills and prepared them for employment. Training for self-employed tailors, beauty therapists, customer care executives, hairstylists, yoga trainers, etc. are being carried out in the Prime Minister Skill Centres. Very soon, one will get to see women playing significant roles in central government schemes such as the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission and Smart City Mission. By joining these missions, women will make a huge contribution in giving a new shape to society. In fact, in the creation of a New India, women’s education and skill development are going to be critical.

In the last few years, under the leadership of our prime minister, Narendra Modi, the central government has rolled out various schemes that have emboldened the women of our country and taken them on the path of self-reliance and security.

The efforts of our government have created a milieu of trust in the women of our country. They are confident that the country’s government machinery is standing by them by creating an atmosphere of respect and development for women. In the past few years, our government has made massive advancements in providing education and honing skill-sets. We pledge to make sure that these efforts reach each and every Indian woman. We are fully prepared to fulfil this pledge with aplomb.

I salute the power of Indian women.

(The writer is Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India.)