A high-level committee constituted by the women and child development (WCD) ministry last June has recommended that India revisit its two-child norm as it is related to missing girl children and initiate dialogues with Hindu religious leaders to arrest the falling sex ratio.
The committee on status of women submitted its preliminary report to WCD minister Krishna Tirath Monday.
“The (two-child) norm has continuing biases from the coercive population policies preceding it, stacked against women. Dialogues with Hindu religious leaders to include daughters in rituals and practices will bring down son preference related to socio-cultural practices,” said the panel headed by former Panjab University professor Pam Rajput.
It traced the problem to lax implementation of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act and anti-dowry laws. The first such committee formed 40 years ago had stalwarts such as rights activist Vina Mazumdar and lawyer Lotika Sarkar and submitted its seminal report titled ‘Towards Equality: The Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India’ in 1974.
The Pam Rajput Committee has pressed for speedy passage of Women Reservation Bill but recommended a 50 per cent quota instead of the proposed 33 per cent. It stressed that marital and sexual choices should be ensured through amendments to IPC section 377.
The committee has urged that the impact of identity politics on Muslim women should be studied as such politics leads to communal riots and revives forces that impose outdated values on women, further alienating them from all empowerment initiatives. It also questioned the constitution and role of National Commission for Women.
“The role of National Commission for Women must go beyond reactive interventions to fulfil the proactive mandate of studying, recommending and influencing policies, laws, programmes and budgets to ensure full benefits to stakeholders,” the 14-member committee observed and demanded that the WCD minister should be of Cabinet rank.