New Delhi: Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh has congratulated women on the occasion of International Women’s Day. He has said that the efforts of the government will certainly prove to be effective in strengthening the participation of women and their empowerment in agriculture. He said that in order to bring women in the agriculture mainstream, the government has allocated more than 30% funds for women under various major schemes / programs and development related activities. Also, women based activities have been started to reach the benefits of different beneficiary-oriented programs / schemes and missions to women.
The Minister said that the participation of women in the decision-making bodies at the state, district and block level under the ATMA scheme have ensured their involvement in the planning process. Along with this, changes in reporting performas have been made to maintain the statistics of benefits reaching women. A book showing the norm of fixed aid for women farmers is also being published. A National Gender Resource Centre in Agriculture has developed a women sensitization module to bring about change in the mindset and behaviour of male program operators. In the team of committed extension personnel under the revised ATMA scheme in 2014, the position of a women coordinator in every state was also created.
The Minister informed that in order to support the food security groups of the women farmers’ at the domestic and household level, financial assistance of 2 groups / per block and Rs 10,000 per group / per year is being given under the amended ATMA scheme 2014-15. In addition to these efforts, special emphasis is being given to women development activities to ensure their participation in the economic and social upliftment in the field of cooperatives. Regular cooperative education programs of women are being organized by the National Cooperative Union of India through the State Cooperative Societies. As a result of these efforts, during 2017-18, 31.47 lakh women have been benefitted by training from the NCUI in the field of cooperatives. Similarly, 6.07 lakh and 7000 women have benefited through KVKs and skill training respectively. A total of 8.62 lakh women have benefitted in 2017-18.
Shri Singh informed that in order to facilitate women’s participation in agriculture, women farmer empowerment projects under the National Rural Livelihood Mission have benefitted more than 34 lakh women through 82 projects across 22 states and one Union Territory. In addition, appointment of one women scientist has been made mandatory in 668 KVKs established across the country. Apart from this, it was decided in 2016 that every year 15th October will be celebrated as “Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas” by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
The Minister further said that in order to make women more empowered in the agriculture and allied sectors and to increase their access to land, credit and other facilities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, in the National Agricultural Policy for Farmers has made several provisions like giving joint lease on both domestic and agricultural land. Alongside this, provisions like issuing Kisan Credit Cards, creating livelihood opportunities through crop-livestock practices, agro-processing etc. are part of the agricultural policy.