• The national machinery has spread a wide network of support services for women and children belonging to the weaker sections. These support services represent an important plank for the empowerment of women as they reduce the burden of child care and other employment related problems. They include hostels for working women to provide greater mobility to them in the employment market. 692 hostels with attached day care centre for 45,300 working women have been sanctioned. 12,500 creches for children of working mothers engaged as casual, migrant, agricultural and construction laborers as well as ailing mothers have been set up.
• A National Creche Fund was created in 1993 with a corpus of Rest. 19.90 cores to meet the growing demand for creches.
• Short Stay Homes for women and girls in difficult circumstances have also been established.
• In the field of child development and maternal care, the Government administers the world’s largest programmed called the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme. Apart from caring for children below 6 years, the scheme also supports pregnant women and nursing mothers living in rural areas and urban slums. At present there are 3908 ICDS projects in the country. For the first time a special intervention has been devised for adolescent girls using the ICDS infra-structure. The scheme focuses on school drop-outs aged 11 to 18 and attempts to meet their special needs of nutrition, health, education, literacy, recreation and skill development. The scheme has been sanctioned in 507 blocks and when fully implemented will benefit 45,000 girls.
Legal Literacy Manuals (Alms)
• Legal Literacy Manuals published by Government in 1992 are expected to educate women about the laws concerning their basic rights. These Manuals have been written in a simple and illustrated format so that even semi-literates and militates are able to comprehend them. They cover a wide range of subjects, namely, laws relating to working women, child labour, contract labour, adoption and maintenance, Hindu, Muslim and Christian marriage laws including right to property, issues of dowry, rape, and details of police procedures.
• The Manuals have been disseminated to States and non-Governmental Organisations and are being translated into all the 14 official Indian languages.