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Man behind the machine must also be well oiled. This has been the mission of the NDA government since last three years.  When weapon systems and equipments worth millions of dollars are acquired, Jawans and Officers taking care of them for their effective use during combat, must also be hale and hearty. Ever since the NDA government assumed power, Government not only announced steep hike in pay and allowances and pensions but also took various measures to make their life easier. The nation cannot win a war if the fighting men are not assured of their welfare. A disgruntled soldier cannot be expected to sacrifice his life for the nation. Hence the NDA government has been talking and taking huge significant steps to keep their morale high.

 The biggest decision of accepting, for which the soldiers were agitating for the last four decades, one rank one pension (OROP) was announced by the government on 7 November, 2015 which will cost the government exchequer around Rs 8000 crores every year. This has ensured that pension anomaly that existed among defence services personnel of the same rank, having the same number of years in service is rectified. Till 30 November last year, under first installment and lump sum payments 19,64,350 personnel were paid Rs 3,985.65 crores. In the second installment 15,46,857 personnel were disbursed Rs 2281.63 crores.

 Further the government notified the acceptance of the recommendations of the 7ThCentral Pay Commission recommendation on 3rdMay, 2017. This will result in hefty hike in pay and allowances of the service personnel .For the first time the commission has substantially hiked the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air force personnel deployed in high risk duties.

For the good health of millions of serving and retired ex-servicemen, the government expanded the scope of Employees Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) by opening more polyclinics and referral hospitals in different parts of the country.  Several measures were taken to provide quality and affordable medicare to ex-servicemen and their dependents. As part of health care reforms, the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) has been completely digitized. A total of approximately 50 lakh beneficiaries have been covered under the scheme. As of now the scheme is being run through 28 regional centres and 426 polyclinics. A total of 1445 civil hospitals have been empanelled to provide cashless treatment to ECHS beneficiaries.

In order to empower the women and look after their welfare, the government approved the induction of women in the fighter stream, thereby making them eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF. Under this plan women are being selected as per uniform Qualitative Requirements at par with male counterparts. Besides, uniform QRs were also applied to both women and short service commission officers for grant of permanent commission irrespective of gender. 18 June, 2016 was the historic day for the Indian women, when three women fighter pilots of the IAF were commissioned at Dundigal. With this, India joined a select band of nations that have women fighter pilots.

As part of the PM’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, digitization of the recruitment process of Army personnel and Communication Networks have been undertaken in full earnest. A special software system –Army Record Officers Process Automation (ARPAN) 2.0, was launched. This has enabled more than 12 lakh junior commissioned officer and jawans to access their service records and employment details online.

  From July 01, 2015, Army recruitment has also gone online.A new website of the Directorate General of Recruitment has been launched for selection of officers, JCOs and Other Ranks. Candidates from all over India can now have access to information about career options in the Army, make suitable choices and apply online.

To provide better and comprehensive care to the army veterans the Army set up theDirectorateof Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) on 14 Jan,2016 at Delhi Cantt. The Directorate will provide a wide range of veteran care and support services and will act as a single point of contact for redressal of complaints of veterans, widows and their wards. The inauguration of the new Directorate coincided with the first ever celebration of Veterans Day.

For the benefit of millions of ex-servicemen and their family members the Defence ministry also set up a Pilot Project of the Army Skill Training Center on 22ndAugust, 2016. With the inauguration of this Center, the Indian Army has embarked on a new mission by bringing Army spouses and wards into the folds of the skilling landscape. Army personnel and their spouse and wards who attend training at ASTC will receive skill certificate from NSDC and will become eligible for employment or entrepreneurship under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna scheme.

 In view of the hardshipsand long separation of Jawans from their families while serving in forward and high altitude areas, the Ministry took steps to expedite the Married Accommodation Project (MAP) for Armed Forces personnel on priority basis. This will provide nearly 2 lakh dwelling units for the married personnel near their places of posting. The third and final phase of MAP is under implementation for 71,000 more dwelling units.

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*Author is a senior journalist. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.

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  • Exemption of fee for females for application forms which is done by almost all the states as well the centre should be done by J&K state Govt. too, as it will increase female representation in Govt employment.

 “If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled." 

                       Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910),

JAMMU: Human development as an objective is meant to embrace all sections of society. Accordingly, the Constitution of India guarantees equality to all citizens without any discrimination on the basis of race, sex, caste, creed, etc. Yet the ground reality is that women find it difficult to realize their Constitutional rights despite the commitment to work towards equality and social justice.

The status of women and children is almost the same in all the states and union territories, where males dominate and females are accorded low status. Women’s work has historically been excluded from accounting schemes of the male-dominated production process and male-constructed development discourse. 

History of the Jammu and Kashmir reveals only few women from state have entered Parliament of India, This is obviously a matter of grave concern, that in a state with more than crores of female electorate, still their presence in the power corridors of Jammu and Kashmir State remains almost negligible.  In this troubled state with more than two decades of disturbance, female folk are hardly  accommodated even at the soft higher political posts.

Present Status of Women in J&K - A Brief Overview  

As revealed by Census 2011 that female population of J&K State came down from 47.15% of the total population in 2001 to 46.88%. Total population of Jammu and Kashmir is 12,548,926 of which male and female  are 6,665,561 and 5,883,365 respectively indicating a reduced sex ratio of 8839. The corresponding figures of male and female as per Census 2001 were 5,360,926 and 4,782,774 respectively indicating sex ratio of 892. 

Economic Empowerment of Women 

During the last two decades women in Jammu and Kashmir have suffered badly, economic empowerment is magic wind to bring women in distress to main stream. Jammu and Kashmir lies at bottom in terms of share of female in the workforce in both urban and rural areas. In-fact similar condition can be seen in other states of India and in centre. At present, women constitute just 7.52% of the central government workforce, of which 24% are in All India Civil Services. The rest of them are placed either at Group C or Group D level -- lower categories in the hierarchy. 

As part of its efforts to increase representation of women in central government jobs, the government has decided "to exempt women candidates from payment of fees". The government made it mandatory for recruitment panels to keep at least one woman member in the Board so that these agencies could "strive to have a workforce which reflects gender balance" in the central government jobs. The idea is to increase the number of women in central government jobs from existing 7.52% to at least 15%-20% of total strength of workforce in the next couple of years. It is believed that the presence of women members in various selection committees will ensure sensitivity towards finding more and more women for government jobs commensurate with their educational qualification.          

As per the 68th round of NSS, the unemployment situation at J&K in comparison to northern states viz Punjab, Haryana, HP and Delhi, the unemployment rate of males in J&K was 3.2% only whereas that of females was 20.2%,which is far too high when compared to neighboring states viz Punjab (5.6%) Haryana (4.8%), Delhi (4.3%) and HP (2.2%). This clearly shows the alarming situation of female unemployment rate in our state. 

Female population needs serious concern by Govt. and policy makers to increase its share in state Govt. jobs. Just like Centre Govt. our state Govt should also take necessary steps to increase the representation of women in State Govt jobs and to hit the gender gap. Exemption of fee for females for application forms which is done by almost all the states as well the centre should be done by J&K state Govt. too, as it will increase female representation in Govt employment.

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“A wise woman wishes to be no one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim”.  

Woman, an inspiration to millions, a dream to work on and a first teacher of our life is only woman. World calls her by the name of Mother, Sister, Daughter and a wife, but the character is so strong that she sacrificed everything for her society and always looking and carving good for all. 

She has to suffer a lot and go through peer-pressures of life, in balancing her relationship with the responsibilities in a family or a society. We have a lot of successful woman in our country India, but still the news on tracks about Rape, Murder, Dowry-deaths, Sexual-abuses, Obscene calls, Harassment and cyber crime is making rampant in our state of Jammu and Kashmir, where in Jammu is the city of Temples and Kashmir is paradise on the earth. If God is there to take responsibility for women-empowerment and honor, then paradise will follow the foot-steps of a woman”  

There are nearly 22 districts in Jammu and Kashmir State, including Ladakh autonomous Hill Development council. The role of woman in every district is being put on testing-times. Hardly, an opinion is being framed for social and economical empowerment of woman. Our state is headed by a Woman, Chief-Minister, but still crimes against woman is increasing on a rapid speed. Female society is being only marched with passion to caste vote and suffers later. 

The male dogmas is attached so hard, that a woman have to think 10-times to raise her voice against any crime or trouble she is going through. CEEOIndia visited nearly 118 villages across the state and interacted with 100 young educated girls across Jammu and Kashmir and questions were raised about the safety and security of young ignited souls. 

Mostly issues were about woman-safety and security, knowledge about menstrual cycle, harassment from male-dominated society and lack of proper support and channelization of platform for women issues inside Jammu and Kashmir. 

“we have to fight all alone, we are being rapidly victimized by unknown phone calls and we have suffered humiliations in public transport, If we report in police, we have to think 100- times, because instead of a speed query, they are asking questions to us and it takes months for the concern to solve the problem, which we cannot openly debate with our parents also. 

At this juncture of Internet development, assurance of safety and security by Honorable Prime-Minster of India, still a woman is merely treated an object of humiliation. We have thousand of council, Ministries and NGO’s working on women rights. Still it is only a woman, who is being raped, molested, sexually- abused and harassed, but all alone she has to suffer this cycle of victimization. 

“It is very difficult for us to travel in public-transport and wait for buses at Bus-stops for our college and tuitions, because bikers, or man travelling in the buses gazing us with the eyes of lust and even try to rub their hands on us”, state government has totally failed for empowering the status of woman. Moreover obscene calls is being a trend followed by Courier boys, College students, Recharge-vendors, Job-Placement centers and local property dealers” 

Recently, woman Executive coordinator of CEEOIndia, received obscene calls and perhaps every department in Government of India especially PMO Office has been updated with the complaint filed and  the same complaint has been filed with Jammu and Kashmir police, but a woman have to wait decades to get social justice in the society. Still action is pending, and Offices of CM J&K, Div-com Jammu has also briefed with the complaint and action is wandering in mere promises of “Beti-Bachao-Beti-Padhao-Anthem.” 

This summer, Sheikh Nosheen, is going to adopt 2000 poor and maximum orphan girls, across rural villages of Jammu and Kashmir State for their education and empowerment and going to take the Swachh-Bharat Mission, Woman rights , Menstrual Education with support from DWSLG across the villages of Jammu and Kashmir especially Poonch, Rajouri and Jammu regions. Recently she has donated her Birthday for the cause of cancer patients and distributed woman-menstrual kits among poor and vulnerable population in Jammu particularly migratory labors and apart from all these efforts, still a woman is merely treating as object of victimization. 

It is only woman, who have to travel kilometers in search of fresh-drinking water and for the sake of family, a woman have to fight everyday with her faith, responsibilities and social boundaries,  designed by the hegemony of Male’s. Government of India especially His Excellency Shri NARENDAR Modi Ji, The Prime-Minster has to take it as wake-up call with all the departments to fight for the survival of woman first. 

___________________

The writer is Mehreen Hussain, Social-Work Fellow (South-Bank University)  working in communication department of CEEOIndia HQS, New-Delhi and incidents have been communicated by District Project coordinators of CEEOINDIA across J&K