‘Violence against women should not be seen through the prism of religion’

Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh on Friday said that any violence against women should not be seen through the prism of religion and it should be condemned outrightly by all without any prejudices.

Quoting figures from the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India 2021’ report, Singh expressed serious concern that India registered 31,677 cases of rape in 2021 – an average 86 daily – while nearly 49 cases of crime against women were lodged every single hour. The number of rape cases in 2020 was 28,046, while it was 32,033 in 2019.

Singh was speaking after the Launch of “A Community-led National Campaign Against Gender-Based Discrimination” of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission in New Delhi.

The month-long campaign titled, “Nai Chetna-Pahal Badlav Ki” with the theme of ‘Elimination of Gender-Based Violence’ will be conducted as a ‘Jan Andolan’ (people’s movement) in all the States/UTs of the country from 25th November to 23rd of December, 2022.

“This will be an annual campaign focussing on specific gender issues each year. The focus area of the campaign this year is Gender Based Violence. This campaign will be implemented by all states in collaboration with CSO partners, and actively executed by all levels including the State, District, Block engaging the Community Institutions along with the extended community,” the Ministry of Rural Development said in a statement.

“The Campaign will also bring together all line departments and stakeholders to create a concerted effort in acknowledging, identifying and addressing issues of violence,” it added.

Over the years this campaign will incorporate an intersectional approach deepening the understanding of gender and generating relevance and ownership in all departments and verticals with a multisectoral approach. As part of the campaign, there will be knowledge workshops, leadership training, seminars on sexual violence and redressal mechanisms.

Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this year’s Independence Day speech spoke about gender equality and the importance of honouring women in day-to-day lives. Modi said, “A distortion has crept in our conduct and we at times insult women. It’s important to get rid of every speech and conduct that lowers the dignity of women”.

The minister said, Prime Minister is taking all steps for empowerment of women and said only Atmanirbhar Women will help in making an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Lauding the progress of the DAY-NRLM Mission, Singh said, in 2014, there were 2.35 Crore SHG members, but after Modi’s active support in the last 8 years, the number of SHG members has now swelled to about 9 Crore.

He said, the target is to achieve 10 crore members by 2024. The Minister also informed that the cumulative loan to SHGs was about 80.000 crore before 2014 and now the bank linkage has crossed over 5.7 lakh crore in the last 8 years, with an NPA of just 2.1%.

Giriraj Singh said, each women beneficiary must save at least one lakh rupees per annum through sale of local products. He said, day is not far away when some of the Lakhpati Didis will earn 10 lakhs per annum.

The minister also inaugurated 160 Gender Resource Centres in 13 states, which he described as “Naari Chetna Kendras”. It will work with One Stop Centres (OSCs) of WCD Ministry intended to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. There are 1,251 gender resource centres set up across the country from where women facing gender violence can seek help.

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