Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Historic Transition From Women Development to Women-led Development Under PM Modi

On the occasion of the 77th Independence day on Aug.15, 2023, Honourable PM Shri Narendra Modi emphasized that women- led development is essential to take the nation forward. Since 2014, the Government has been continuously taking multiple steps for the welfare of women and launching several initiatives to make them the major participants in the development process. Women-led development has become the mantra and a top priority agenda for the Government during the last nine years.

To achieve the objective, the Government has introduced many new and innovative schemes in different fields. From construction of toilets, to providing tapped water at homes, constructing houses in their names, providing gas connections, getting them into the banking system, making them fly fighter plans and facilitating them to be part of the decision- making process, we have been   witnessing different types of initiatives being implemented with a mission- mode.   

As a result, women have become the major beneficiaries of various Government welfare programmes and incentives. There are several schemes to build their capacities in different fields such as nutrition, health and education. When we take nutrition for example, POSHAN Abhiyan is improving the key nutrition parameters of women and children, while the PM Matru Vandana Yojana is enhancing the nutritional needs of pregnant women and lactating mothers. 

There are special schemes for women to make them employable and get into entrepreneurship. Self-employment of women is promoted through STEP scheme. Stand Up India facilitates loans up to one crore for at least one woman in every bank branch of all scheduled banks for setting up green field projects.

As a result, we are witnessing a historic change in the lives of women in the country. A study undertaken by Ministry of Jal Sakthi in collaboration with UNICEF and others on the performance of Swachh Bharat Mission revealed how the lives of women have transformed drastically after the construction of toilets in their homes. The study titled ‘Access to Toilets and the Safety, Convenience and Self-respect of Women in Rural India’ (2020) states after six years of implementation of the scheme, 91 percent of the women reported that they were able to save up to one hour and do not have to travel up to a kilometer for defecation. Besides 88 percent of them reported that having a toilet at home has increased their pride, besides improving health and increasing safety.  

Moreover, there is a huge transformation in empowering women, which had never happened earlier. Now girls constitute 43 percent of STEM education stream of students. A record number of 28.29 crore women have become the beneficiaries through Jan Dhan Yojana for the first time in their lives. This number is more than 55 percent of the total beneficiaries. Among the beneficiaries of the MUDRA Yojana around 70 percent are women, enabling them to become entrepreneurs. 

 The importance that the PM gives to women-led development could be understood from the fact that he underlined his Government’s approach even at the international level. In his video message at the G-20 Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment, PM noted that ‘Women-led development in India is our main priority’ and mentioned that when women prosper, the World prospers. Besides, the economic empowerment of women was at the heart of India’s G-20 Agenda. 

Since the ancient periods, Indian civilization has always nurtured and respected women power. That is the reason why we have had scholars and leaders of exceptional expertise in different parts of the country over several centuries. Field studies reveal that in the contemporary India, women play the critical role in driving the cultural and economic systems, apart from being the backbone of our family system. 

Our PM’s initiatives to give the mothers, sisters and daughters of India the required impetus are not just make the development process more inclusive, but to make it complete, besides enabling it to move at a much faster pace. With the sustained efforts of the Government over the last nine years, the results are there before us to see. Surely a historic transformation is taking place before our us in Independent India. Let us all celebrate it. 

(The writer is Secretary & Trustee, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi)