New Kerala policy to check atrocities against women

November 24th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananathapuram, Nov 24 (IANS) Kerala is set to unveil a women’s policy whose highlight will be to campaign against atrocities against women by setting up a few select model villages and vigilance committees.As the first step to implement the policy, the state government had earlier this week announced the formation of a gender board, which includes heads of 18 departments and a representative each from the state planning board, Women’s Commission and five other nominated members.

The draft women’s policy was released in March this year.

“The draft, after it was released, has been extensively discussed and we are now waiting for the state Social Welfare and Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi to unveil the policy,” T.N. Seema, member of the gender board, told IANS.

“The highlight of the policy is that we plan to set up a few model villages where there will be no atrocities on women because this is one of our main concerns. Several mechanisms have been included to see that no atrocities on women are committed and in the long run, we plan to replicate this model in other villages also,” said Seema, who is also a member of the state committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The policy is also to tackle atrocities against women through Jagrata Samithis (vigilance committees) that have already begun functioning in over 800 village bodies out of around 1,200 in the state.

“We already have many of these (vigilance committees) that function very effectively,” she said.

Kerala has one of the highest sex ratios in the country at 1,000 men to 1,058 women. The national ratio is 1,000 men to 933 women.

The average life expectancy of Kerala women is 76 years, while the national average is 61.8 years.

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