The days of male relatives exercising the powers of female village heads (Sarpanchas) will soon be over. Union Ministry for Women and Child Development (WCD) is planning to launch a training programme for women sarpanchas to educate and empower them about their rights and functioning of the government machinery. The ministry has recently completed a pilot project in Rajasthan and finalised a draft syllabus for the training.
“Presently, more than 50 per cent panchayat heads in the country are women but their powers are mainly exercised by their husbands, sons or other male members of the family. The initiative will be a game-changer for women in the country as trained and empowered Sarpanchs will be able to bring about political transformation in its true sense,” said Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD). She said that the scheme would be launched across the country in 2017 with an aim to train two lakh women Sarpanchas.
“The training includes village-level management like civil works, government machinery, basic knowledge of government schemes and their utilisation for the village,” added Gandhi. Through the pilot project, which was initiated in May 2016 in Rajasthan, we learnt a lot from the ground reality and incorporated them in our training module.