MoU with Railways

MoU with Railways 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Railways on 19th May2015, to further the association and co-operation in the implementation of jointly prepared Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and to ensure the care and protection, security, well- being of run-away, unaccompanied and trafficked children who come in contact with the railways.
The Ministry has decided to set up Child Help Desks/Kiosks on the platforms of 20 major stations, initially with help of Ministry of Railways. These help desks will assist Child Help Groups comprising of Station Superintendent/Station Master, the     HO(GRP),Inspector(RPF) and SSE(works) for rescue and rehabilitation of children in difficult circumstances. 

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today. 


Malnourishment among Women 

As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS) -3, 2005-06, the top five states, where the number of malnourished women is very high includes Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. 

The Government has accorded high priority to the issue of malnutrition and is implementing several schemes/programmes of different Ministries/Departments through State Governments/UT Administrations. The schemes/programmes include the ICDS Scheme, National Health Mission, Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)-‘Sabla’, Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY) as direct targeted interventions, besides, indirect Multi-sectoral interventions include National Food Security Mission, Total Sanitation Campaign, National Rural Drinking Water Programme etc. All these schemes have potential to address one or other aspect related to Nutrition including nutrition of women. 

The Ministry of Women & Child Development is implementing programmes such as ICDS, RGSEAG namely SABLA, IGMSY as direct targeted interventions. The details are as given below: 

The objective of ICDS is holistic development of children 0-6 yrs, pregnant women and lactating mothers. The objectives are sought to be achieved through a package of six services comprising (i) supplementary nutrition (ii) immunization, (iii) health check-up, (iv) referral services, (v) pre-school non-formal education and (vi) nutrition and health education. 

The ‘Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG)–‘Sabla’, a Centrally-sponsored scheme introduced in the year 2010-11 on a pilot basis. At present it is being implemented in 205 districts from all the States/UTs. Sabla aims at all-round development of adolescent girls of 11-18 years by making them ‘self reliant’. The scheme has two major components: Nutrition and Non Nutrition Component. 

Indira Gandhi MatritvaSahyogYojana (IGMSY), Conditional Maternity Benefit (CMB) is a centrally sponsored scheme for pregnant and lactating (P & L) women to improve their health & nutrition status to enabling better environment by providing cash incentives to them. The scheme was introduced in October, 2010 on pilot basis and now operational in 53 districts across the country. The scheme envisages providing cash directly to the beneficiaries through their Bank /Post Office Accounts. As per provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013, the Ministry has revised the entitlement of maternity benefit from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 6000/- per beneficiary. 

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to a starred question in Rajya Sabha today. 


Web Portal for Missing Children 

The Ministry of Women and Child Development, with the assistance of Department of Electronics and Information Technology, has launched a web portal Khoya-Paya on 2nd June, 2015 for reporting and searching of missing children. The web portal ‘Khoya-Paya’ will have information of missing and sighted children. So far approximately 2700 users have registered on the portal and around 1500 have downloaded mobile application for usage through their mobile phones. Around 1500 cases of missing/sighted children have been reported and 140 cases of missing children have been closed on the portal. 

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today. 


Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) 

 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme providing a package of services comprising (i) Supplementary nutrition (ii) Pre-school non-formal education (iii) Nutrition and health Education (iv) Immunization (v) Health check-up and (vi) Referral services through Anganwadi Centres to children below 6 years of age and pregnant women& lactating mothers.  The later three services viz. Immunization, Health check-up and Referral services are provided in convergence with Public Health Systems of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.   Budget allocation under ICDS Scheme for the year 2015-16 compared with budget allocated in 2014-15 is given below:-

          (Rupees in crore)

Budget Allocation(BE)
Budget Allocation (RE)

The Budgetary allocations for all Plan Schemes including ICDS was made against the backdrop of substantial higher devolution of taxes of 42% to the States, decision to give more flexibility to States in implementation of Schemes and expected higher share from States.

The reduction in budgetary allocation is likely to be off set by expected higher cost share from States and Demand for Supplementary Grants.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today.

Budget for Women & Child Development 

The total allocation to the Ministry of Women and Child Development for implementing the schemes in 2015-16 is to the tune of Rs. 10286.73 crore.

The amounts allocated during the past three years and the expenditure incurred/utilised for women and child development are as follows;
  (Rs. In crore)

Allocation of the Budget
Revised budget allocation
Expenditure/ Utilization of budget

Percentage Utilization of the allocated budget(Revised)

To overcome the morbidity and other sufferings among women and children and to attend to their social backwardness, the Government has been making concerted efforts by implementing schemes through various ministries and making budgetary allocation to them. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing a number of schemes on its own and also in coordination with other social sector ministries for development of women and children in the country in accordance to the budget provisions made in the Annual Plan allocations.

This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development ,SmtManeka Sanjay Gandhi in reply to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today.

Communiqué-Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (28-30 July, 2015 | New Delhi, India) 

‘Youth Participation at the heart of sustainable development’ 

1. The Asia Region Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting (AsR-CYMM) was held in New Delhi, India on 28-30 July 2015. The meeting was officially opened by Hon Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. 

2. Delegates to the meeting expressed their sincere condolences to the Government and people of India on the passing away of Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India. 

3. All eight member countries from the Commonwealth Asia region attended the AsR-CYMM, of which five were led at the Ministerial level. Delegates included Ministers, senior government officials and youth representatives, as well as youth development stakeholders and experts. 

4. The timing of the AsR-CYMM, occurring just two months before world leaders finalise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2015-2030 at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), gave delegates the opportunity to deliberate national youth development priorities in that context. 

5. In recognition of the important contribution of young people as partners in regional and national development, delegates considered recommendations submitted by the Youth Leaders Forum of the AsR-CYMM, particularly on decent employment, entrepreneurship and skills development, professionalising youth work, peace building, strengthening national youth participation structures, and developing and implementing National Youth Policies. 

Young People in National and Global Development Agendas 
6. Youth ministers agreed strategies/key actions to ensure youth empowerment and development priorities are included in national and regional development frameworks, especially in light of the new SDGs. 

7. Ministers reinforced their commitment to the resolutions agreed at 8CYMM in 2013, and resolved to take further practical action, especially in the area of youth policy design and implementation, strengthening youth participation mechanisms, and youth employment and skills development and entrepreneurship. 

8. Ministers agreed to champion a youth focus in their countries in programming and interventions at national and regional level to achieve the goals of the SDG targets and indicators. 

9. Ministers also supported the call by youth leaders for a youth-focussed monitoring mechanism for the SDGs, including the disaggregation of data, and analysis using the Commonwealth Youth Development Index. 

10. Ministers agreed to advocate for adequate financing for youth development at sub-national, national and regional levels. 

Youth Employment, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship

11. Ministers reiterated that economic empowerment and entrepreneurship are critical for growth and as a solution to unemployment. 

12. Ministers commended the progress made by the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Asia (CAYE-A), and agreed to provide further support, noting that such a network helps lift economic growth and youth employment in member countries. Ministers further agreed to continue to strengthen and support youth entrepreneurship by facilitating easier access to technology and finance for young people, particularly those unable to furnish collateral, and simplifying the regulatory environment for youth. 

13. Ministers noted the emergence of a Policy Guide on Youth Entrepreneurship, developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and committed to develop, and where necessary refine, national/regional youth entrepreneurship strategies in collaboration with the Commonwealth and other regional partners, including the CAYE-Asia. 

14. Ministers resolved to work with the Commonwealth and other development partners to ensure entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for young people in new and emerging economies. 

15. Ministers agreed to strengthen skills training education relevant to the existing and future needs of labour markets, including partnerships with industry, and utilisation of existing education and training infrastructures, to enhance employability of young people and economic development. 

16. Ministers noted the introduction of World Youth Skills Day and its take up in member countries. 

17. Ministers agreed to facilitate the formation of a virtual regional network between ministries to identify and share good practices in skills development and entrepreneurship programming with the support of the Commonwealth. 

18. Ministers noted that life skills are just as important as technical skills, in particular in the context of preparing for an unknown economic future. They 3 also noted the importance of identifying different but equally valuable educational pathways to meet young people’s diverse needs and aspirations. 

Youth Participation in Governance 
19. Ministers committed to enhancing youth participation in decision-making, as well as youth participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of government programmes, by taking steps to include targets for youth representation, through legitimate structures, in relevant governance and decision-making structures at national, regional and international levels. 

20. Ministers agreed to establish/strengthen national youth councils (NYCs) or other national youth-led bodies in their countries, acknowledging the potential role and contribution of NYCs to sustainable development, peace and democracy. Ministers requested the Commonwealth’s assistance in developing guidance on principles and structures of successful youth council models. 

21. Ministers commended the progress of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) and Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA) in engaging and uniting youth and student organisations in the Commonwealth. They also noted the need to strengthen communication and coordination mechanisms between youth networks, youth ministries and the Commonwealth. 

22. Ministers noted the resource constraints faced by youth-led and youth-serving organisations, especially National Youth Councils and student associations, and agreed to provide greater support for building their capacity through legislation, financial assistance and/or other measures. 

23. Ministers recognised the importance of participation by representative youth leaders at key regional and international meetings such as the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Forum and 2nd CYC General Assembly as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November 21-25 2015, and agreed to encourage and support them to attend and contribute to shaping policy through an inclusive and transparent process. 

24. Ministers commended the participating youth leaders on the relevance of their inputs to the AsR-CYMM, noting that it is critical for young people to be involved in development policies, strategies and implementation to ensure sustainability and relevance to young people. 

25. Youth delegates expressed their deep appreciation for the financial and in-kind contributions from the Governments of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in support of the Commonwealth Youth Council. 

National Youth Policy Frameworks and Action Plans 
26. Ministers shared national experiences of the processes, challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of national youth policies, and ensuring that national youth policies are inclusive of, and relevant to, young people’s needs and capabilities. Ministers commended the work presented by a 4 number of countries on evidence-based, youth-inclusive, comprehensive processes followed for National Youth Policy reviews. Ministers agreed to work together to strengthen national youth policy frameworks and action plans across the region, and to prioritise action and resources to ensure meaningful implementation. 

27. Ministers noted the challenges of an increasingly complex environment of regional and global youth policy frameworks, and the expiry of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (2007-2015). Ministers endorsed the Commonwealth’s proposal to harmonise the multiple policy frameworks, as part of a broader Commonwealth youth policy environment, and agreed to collaborate in the process. 

28. Ministers committed to advocate for adequate resourcing and prioritisation for youth development across all relevant ministries, to ensure they are able to execute their vital mandates, in alignment with best practice, approved national policy and legislative frameworks. Ministers also acknowledged the importance of having competent young people working within ministries to provide youth perspectives on policy and programme design, and contribute to implementation. 

29. Ministers agreed that policy documents must be developed through a multisectoral development process to ensure that wide relevance and ownership, and transcend political regimes. Further, policy and programmes must be cohesive and evidence based, and should be supported by mandatory monitoring and evaluative components. Ministers agreed that data is critical to the design and monitoring of policies and programming, and should be validated, regularly updated, and shared. 

30. Ministers acknowledged the importance of a mainstreaming approach to youth policy design and implementation and agreed to incorporate youth mainstreaming principles and strategies in national youth policy processes. Ministers resolved to strengthen efforts to implement, monitor and evaluate youth policies, to track progress in youth development with the help of regular reporting and tools such as the Commonwealth Youth Development Index, and to aim for a review of National Youth Policies every five years. 

31. Ministers noted the importance of recognising emerging topics in youth policies, such as the increasing agency of young people to address their own issues, and the advent of social media, which has the potential to be a force for liberty and socialisation if used positively, but conversely a threat if used for activities such as cyberbullying. 

Professionalising Youth Work 
32. Ministers reinforced their commitment to youth work as an essential component of the enabling environment that underpins effective youth development. Ministers also committed to continue implementing the mandate by the Commonwealth Heads of Government to enhance the competencies and professionalism of youth work and the recognition of youth work in youth policy, and where possible, in legislation. 

33. Ministers reconfirmed the importance of education and training for youth workers and agreed to facilitate and support youth work education across the Commonwealth, including engagement with the emerging Commonwealth Consortium for a bachelor’s degree in youth development work, and the 2016 Commonwealth Youth Work Conference. They further noted that the Commonwealth Competency Standards for Youth Development Work should act as a guide for the capacity building and evaluation of youth workers. 

34. Ministers agreed to collaborate on the celebration of Commonwealth Youth Work Week and encourage applications for the annual Commonwealth Youth Worker awards. 

35. Ministers commended the work of the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) in India, and agreed to explore the possibilities for establishing or strengthening youth development focused institutions and think tanks in their own countries to provide an academic core for youth development research and practice. 

36. Ministers discussed the issue of setting up systematic field mechanisms for the empowerment, non-formal education and care of young people, and agreed to work towards the identification and implementation of good models of youth work practice such as that outlined in the Commonwealth’s Co-Creating Youth Spaces model. 

37. Ministers commended the contributions of the regional finalists of the Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards, in particular the challenges that they and other youth workers in the region face, and agreed to better support the contribution of youth work professionals. 

Youth and Peaceful Societies 
38. Ministers reflected on the promotion of peace, harmony and social cohesion, as a counter to conflict and extremism, and a force for social and economic development. 

39. Ministers committed to taking a collective, regional approach to peace building, and resolution of conflicts and disputes, noting that young people and youth ministers can play a leadership role in promoting friendship, understanding and unity, in the Asia region and as a global exemplar. 

40. Ministers endorsed the principles outlined in the Guiding Principles on Young People’s Participation in Peace-building and committed to using the principles where relevant to guide programme design and delivery in dealing with crime and violence. 

41. Ministers reiterated the importance of social values and values based education. They also agreed to explore mechanisms for engagement between young people of diverse backgrounds, and inter-generational and intercultural dialogue and understanding. 

Commonwealth Engagement 
42. Ministers commended the contribution of the Commonwealth to furthering youth development policy and practice in the Asia Region, and agreed that there is a strong need for continued technical support after the implementation of the new operating model for the Commonwealth Youth Programme. 

43. Ministers requested the Commonwealth Secretariat to assist and follow up on the implementation of the resolutions contained in this communique on an annual basis. 

44. Youth delegates expressed their appreciation to the Ministers of the Commonwealth Asia Region for their participatory approach and genuine partnership, and noted that they look forward to a continuation of this inclusive and mutually beneficial relationship and the implementation of the agreements made. 

45. Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Government and the people of India for their hospitality in hosting the AsR-CYMM, and the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Youth Council for organising the event, and commended the interactive and productive format. 


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