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States » East


50 per cent reservation for women in Meghalaya VECs

50 per cent reservation for women in Meghalaya VECs

Shillong, Aug 8 (UNI) The National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government has adopted a historic decision by approving the “Policy on Reservation of seats for Women in Village Employment Councils (VECs)”.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed that the cabinet on Friday has passed a historic decision by reserving at least 50 per cent in the grassroot village level community institutions VECs.
“Women leadership implies creation of agency for women that will enable them to take decisions and participate in the developmental process as well as decisions that impact their lives,” Sangma said.
He said the policy aims to create an enabling environment for women to exercise leadership and give them equal opportunities in grassroots governance. VECs are apolitical organizations formed for implementation of MGNREGA works.
“Most of the time, focus is laid on improving the well-being of women but not on creation of an agency for women to exercise her freedom and leadership, and through this policy we want to ensure empowerment of women,”the Chief Minister stated.
The VECs were constituted under MGNREGA in 2006 in every village.
VECs comprised all male and female heads of each household with the traditional Headman generally heading the Council.
With active involvement of the traditional institutions, the VECs have been performing well across the State.
“A need is felt to upscale the effectiveness of the VECs and the policy aims to empower the women,” Sangma said, adding that the data available with the government states that in few VECs where female members hold the position of chairperson (112 nos) and secretaries (260 nos), the execution and maintenance of works and record keeping is found to be exemplary.
The Chief Minister said that the State government’s main objective with regards to rural development has always been to strengthen rural economies with a larger objective of bringing in women’s participation in rural development activities so that effective leadership can be taken forward.
Also, with the looming economic stress arising due to the current COVID-19 pandemic in the State, there was a felt need that every member at the community level should be given equal opportunity in leadership driven programmes and processes involved for reviving the economy.
Besides fulfilling the objective of strengthening rural livelihoods through active women’s participation, the policy also aims to achieve the following:
The Maternal Mortality rate of Meghalaya is higher than the national average and this policy will provide impetus to women’s active participation in public health, thereby significantly bringing down the MMR and IMR which will also entail an increase in life expectancy of the people of the State.
The State life expectancy is only 62.3 years as compared to national average of 68.5 years.
With this policy, Sangma said the government aims to improve all its performance in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (especially the SDG goal 5 on Gender Equality) by 2030. Currently, the SDG-5 ranking of Meghalaya is 25 among all states of India.
UNI RRK KK

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