ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Five Year Plans

Posted by Kathryn Schwartz on February 03, 2014
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• The First Five Year Plan (1951-56) was mainly welfare oriented as far as women’s issues were concerned. The Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) undertook a number of welfare measures through the voluntary sector.

• In the Second Five Year Pan (1956-61) efforts were geared to organize “Mahila Mandals” (Women’s groups) at grass-roots levels to ensure better implementation of welfare schemes.

• The third, Fourth and other Interim Plans (1961-74) accorded high priority to women’s education, Measures to improve maternal and child health services, and supplementary feeding for children, nursing and expectant mothers were also introduced.

• In the Fifth Plan (1974-78), there was a shift in the approach from ‘welfare’ to ‘development’ as the scope of social welfare was enlarged to cope with several problems of the family and the role of women; the new approach integrated welfare with developmental services…

• The Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-85) as stated earlier was a landmark as women’s development received recognition as a specific development sector and a separate chapter on it was, for the first time, included in the Plan document. The Plan adopted a multi-disciplinary approach with a three-pronged thrust on health, education and employment.

• The Seventh Plan (1985-90), development programmes for women was continued, with the objective of raising their economic and social status and bringing them into the mainstream of national development. A very significant step therein was to identify and promote ‘beneficiary-oriented programmes’ which extended direct benefits to women.

• The Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97), promises to ensure that the benefits of development from different sectors do not bypass women. Special programmes are to be implemented to complement the general development programmes. The flow of benefits to women in the three core sectors of education, health and employment are to be monitored vigilantly. Women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in the developmental process. This approach of the Eighth Plan marks a definite shift from ‘development’ to empowerment’ of women.

• In order to meet the needs of women and children, there has been a progressive increase in the plan outlays over the last four developmental decades. The outlay of RS. 4 crore in the First Plan (1951-56) has gone up to RS. 2000 crore in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97).

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