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Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri Giriraj Singh inaugurates one-day National Workshop on Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Addressing Gender Based Violence today at New Delhi

New Delhi :- 

Shri Giriraj Singh releases “Panchayats Free From Gender-Based Violence – A Handbook for Elected Representatives”

Increased awareness on rights and entitlements and women’s economic empowerment are the key to ending gender-based violence – Shri Giriraj Singh

More than 200 Participants from 25 States and UTs attended the National Workshop

Shri Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj inaugurated the one-day National Workshop virtually on Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) today at New Delhi. Shri Giriraj Singh also released “Panchayats Free From Gender-Based Violence – A Handbook for Elected Representatives” on the occasion. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in collaboration with UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) India. Secretary Shri Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Resident Representative, UNFPA Ms. Andrea M. Wojnar and other senior officers from the Government of India and State Governments were also present on the occasion.

In his address, Shri Giriraj Singh exhorted the Panchayati Raj Institutions and all key stakeholders for wider awareness, collective resolve, economic empowerment, and self-reliability as crucial components in the concerted efforts to diminish gender-based violence. Shri Singh underscored the urgent need for a holistic approach in addressing the pervasive issue of gender-based violence. He called for partnership among Government Departments and convergence of different government schemes such as NRLM, JJM, SBM, etc. to accelerate action on implementing programs that contribute to the economic empowerment of women across the Nation.

Union Minister appreciated the initiative of Ministry of Panchayati Raj to implement the Government’s commitment to fostering economic growth, gender equality and women empowerment in rural areas. He underlined that Panchayati Raj Institutions / Rural Local Bodies have a pivotal role in fostering social change and addressing challenges such as gender-based violence. Union Minister Shri Giriraj Singh called upon all key stakeholders to join hands in realizing the vision for women’s empowerment.

Secretary Shri Vivek Bharadwaj highlighted a series of impactful initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj mentioning 9 Themes of Localization of Sustainable Development Goals, Panchayat Development Plans, Panchayat Development Index and other such initiatives towards women empowerment, inclusion, and the creation of a better environment for women in rural areas. In the Secretary’s address, several key initiatives were highlighted, demonstrating the Union Government’s commitment to fostering positive change in the lives of women in rural areas ensuring their social and empowerment, contributing to the empowerment of women in rural areas.

Shri Vivek Bharadwaj mentioned that Government Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) helped more women financially included and empowered, providing access to household toilets under SBM-G campaign and ownership of houses under PMAY-G led to inclusion, economic empowerment, enhancing the dignity and ease of living of women.

Shri Bharadwaj emphasized that the empowerment of women is not just a social imperative but a catalyst for the empowerment of families, societies, and the development of Nation. He said that women’s empowerment is a cornerstone for building resilient and prosperous communities and future generations. When women are empowered, it has a cascading effect that reaches far beyond individual lives.

Resident Representative, UNFPA India Ms. Andrea M. Wojnar expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for taking proactive steps towards combating gender-based violence. She commended the Ministry for its commitment to addressing this critical issue and acknowledged the importance of collaborative efforts in creating a safer and more inclusive society.

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Shri Vikas Anand, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Smt. Smriti Sharan, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development and Shri Vipul Ujwal, Director, Ministry of Panchayati Raj also addressed the inaugural session. Senior officers of State and UT Departments of Panchayati Raj, SIRD&PRs, elected women representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, functionaries and other stakeholders participated in the day-long workshop and contributed to deliberations.

Focus areas highlighted during the inaugural session include (i) Role of UNFPA in Capacity Building of PRIs in addressing the issues related to Gender Based Violence, (ii) Strengthening Institutional Efforts to address GBV at Grassroots Level, (iii) Role of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) / Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in addressing the GBV and (iv) Promoting Community based initiatives to prevent Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

MoPR’s commitment to fostering positive change was exemplified through thought-provoking group discussions, engaging presentations, and interactive sessions that explored the multifaceted dimensions of gender-based violence. The workshop served as a platform for sharing best practices, discussing challenges, and formulating actionable strategies to empower Panchayati Raj Institutions in their role as catalysts for change.

Senior officers of the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and representatives of PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action), TRIF (Transforming Rural India Foundation) and other stakeholders participated during the Workshop.

The key issues such as Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Community Based Organisations in addressing Gender-Based Violence, Addressing Gender-Based Violence by Involving Civil Society Organisations at the grassroots level, Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in addressing issues related with Women and Girl Child Trafficking at Grassroots, Role of Elected Representatives of Panchayats in Mitigating and Addressing the issues related to Gender-based Violence at the Grassroots were discussed during the day-long Workshop. Group Discussions brought together diverse stakeholders, including representatives from UNFPA, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Government Organizations, NGOs/ CBOs, field experts etc.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss the role of Elected Representatives of PRIs in mitigating and addressing the issues related to GBV and spread awareness among the State and UT Panchayati Raj Departments, NIRD&PR, SIRD&PRs, Panchayati Raj Training Institutions and Panchayats, and all stakeholders. Discussions during the Workshop covered the sensitive issues like Child Marriage, Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence etc.  The Workshop helped in deepening understanding and enhancing collective efforts in addressing gender-based violence (GBV), and all participants gained insights into prevention strategies, support mechanisms, and the importance of fostering a culture of respect and equality.

The Workshop will help advancing the concerted efforts on Women-Friendly Panchayat theme of Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs), which a crucial and pioneering step taken by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj towards achieving sustainable and inclusive development at the grassroots level. By empowering women leadership in grassroots governance, addressing gender disparities and gender-based violence, and implementing targeted initiatives, rural communities can create a more equitable and resilient future for all. The success of these efforts depends on the collective commitment of stakeholders to champion the cause of women’s empowerment and Localization of Sustainable Development Goals.