The Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY NRLM) has adopted a focussed approach towards gender mainstreaming in its program architecture. This includes establishing institutional mechanisms like Social Action Committees at the village organization and cluster federation levels to serve as response mechanisms to various issues that women and girls face, and that continue to act as barriers for them in accessing their rights and entitlements to lead a decent living. These Social Action Committees have shown exemplary leadership in strengthening the gender responsiveness of the program at the grassroots level, especially at a time when the COVID crisis has heightened the need for such bottom up mechanisms that women can easily access to raise their concerns and grievances.
The national webinar on sharing of best practices adopted for addressing gender issues by VO SAC brought together the voices of women who have engaged with Social Action Committees to address challenges as diverse as enrolment and retention of children in schools; asset creation in the names of women; prevention of violence against women; the practice of child marriage; and ensuring food and nutrition security. The event was presided by the Honourable Minister for Rural Development, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, and the Minister of State, Sadhvi Nrianjan Jyoti. Organised as part of the Amrut Mahotsav, the event marked the release of a compendium of case studies showcasing best practices from social action committees across India. Union Minister of Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing Industries, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar released a compendium on best practices gathered from all over India on how Deendayal Antoyadya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) in addressing gender issues through local institutions, called Social Action Committees, set up at the village organisation and cluster federations’ levels. The compendium on best practices was launched in the presence of Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State, Rural Development, officials from the Ministry of Rural Development and all State Governments. Secretary, Rural development, GoI, Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Additional Secretary, Rural Development Smt. Alka Upadhyay, Joint Secretary (RL-II/IEC), and Smt. Nita Kejrewal were also present on the occasion.
The event highlighted voices of women and girls who have sought support from the Social Action Committees to address a range of issues – such as ending child marriage; preventing violence against women; ending the practice of witch hunting; generating employment and supporting livelihoods for women; providing legal redressal and counselling through formal mechanisms, as well as bringing vulnerable and marginalised communities into the fold of inclusive development and ensuring that their voices are represented at these institutions. The case studies from 23 States highlight the processes, mechanisms, strategies and plans for replicating and scaling these gender interventions to advance gender equality and end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.