From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : National Commsision for Women
Mains level : Read the attached story
The Central Government has nominated Smt. Rekha Sharma, as Chairperson of the National Commission for Women for another term of three years.
National Commission for Women
- The NCW is the statutory body generally concerned with advising the government on all policy matters affecting women.
- It was established on 31 January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
- The first head of the commission was Jayanti Patnaik.
- The Indian Constitution doesn’t contain any provision specifically made to favor women intrinsically.
- Article 15 (3), Article 14 and Article 21 protect and safeguard women. They are more gender-neutral.
- The objective of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to provide a voice for their issues and concerns.
- The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labor.
- They have also discussed police abuses against women.
Composition of National Commission for Women
The Commission shall consist of:
- A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women, to be nominated by the Central Government.
- five Members to be nominated by the Central Government from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organizations (including women activist), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare;
- Provided that at least one Member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively;
Powers of NCW
- Provide consultation on all major policy matters that affect women.
- Issuing summons for the examination of documents and the witnesses.
- It has the power to make any public record.
- Receiving evidence on affidavits
- Discovery and production of documents
- Summoning and enforcement
Functions of the NCW
- Presentation of reports: Table reports should be submitted to the Central Government every year. When the commission feels it’s appropriate. The reports upon the functioning and working of the safeguards.
- Investigation and Examination: There should be proper investigation and examination made under the Constitution and other laws. This is related to the protection of the rights of women.
- Review of laws: Constantly all laws are reviewed and scrutinized. And necessary amendments and alterations are made to meet the needs of the current world.
- Cases of Violation: Ensure there is no violation against women and taking due care of such cases.
- Suo Motu Notice: It takes care of complaints and also suo motu matters about the deprivation of rights of women. Implementation of laws favoring the welfare of women.
- Evaluation: Assessing the development and the progress of the women community under the Center and State level.
- Special studies and investigation: To understand the limitations in the system and curb it with strategic plans and mechanisms.
Powers of the NCW
- Not concrete powers: The NCW is only recommendatory and has no power to enforce its decisions. Often it takes action only if the issues are brought to light.
- Legal powers: Commission lacks constitutional status, and thus has no legal powers to summon police officers or witnesses.
- Less funding: NCW’s functions are dependent on the grants offered by the central government. Financial assistance provided to the Commission is very less to cater to its needs.
- Political interference: It does not have the power to choose its own members.