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Shramik Women – Livelihood Opportunities

Andhra Pradesh:International Women’s day was celebrated on March 12th in the State of Andhra Pradesh on the themeShramik Women – Livelihood Opportunities. Sri. Kaki Sunitha, IAS, Managing Director, Tobacco Board, Govt. of India and Sri. AV. Patel, General Manager, District Industries Department and Sri. Naveen, Additional Director, DIC participated as guests

of honour.

Sri.GDV Prakash presided over the meeting while Jhansi Geddam, Convener of DSS explained the importance of International Women’s Day.

Jhansi Geddam recollected how the historic struggle of women for 8 hours working day hundred years ago is now being celebrated as International Women’s Day every year.She pointed out that the inequalities can be eradicated only if the women get empowered economically and called

upon all women to work towards economic independence. Unless women contribute to the economy of the nation there can’t be real growth of the economy in the country. She called upon the working-class women to concentrate on the education of their children and see that the future generation of dalit women turn out to be entrepreneurs and officers and not agricultural labourers. Public and government should understand the need for dalitwomen participation in the economic activities of the nation. She advised the dalit women to study what economic projects can be taken up and also about the various schemes of the government.

Sri.AV. Patel pointed out that women by nature have positive thinking and for this reason they are able to run the families properly even in times of financial difficulties.If majority of the

women become rulers of the country, they can run the country also with a positive outlook. He explained about the various schemes in the Industries Department and motivated dalit women to explore the opportunities. He told that the schemes in the industries department sanction loans with 25 paisa interest up to 5 crores. He felt that if dalit women take up projects and develop economically, it automatically results in their empowerment. Dalit women can ward of all forms of oppression on them only if they develop educationally and economically.

Sri. Kaki Sunitha pointed out that the women workers in the agricultural field are discriminated compared to the women in the employment field.In the field of employment all the women and men in the same cadre get same wages without discrimination.But in the agricultural field the wages are less and even in that the women get less wages than men.Since most of the dalit/Adivasi women are working as labourers in the agricultural field their wages and

earnings are low and are continuing in a low economic status. She further said that, according to studies the working women in Andhra Pradesh are more in percentage terms compared to the percentage of working women at the all India level. Dalit women should demand equal wages in agricultural field also. She felt that the Government should take steps towards eradication of poverty among women and provide food security. She appreciated the government schemes in providing nutritious food to pregnant and lactating women but felt that the scheme should be further improved to provide better support. She said that the dalit women mostly suffer anaemic conditions due to lack of nutritious food. This anaemic condition of women results in the vicious chain of giving birth to weak babies whose mental faculties do not develop at the desired level and they lag behind compared to healthy babies born in well to do families. The well to do families then ridicule that the dalit children are less intelligent. This vicious chain can be broken only if the dalit women are fed properly with nutritious food.The producers and exporters of agricultural products demand higher prices for their products and exports but when it comes to paying for the labourers, they are very unkind.

She elaborated on the various laws and government schemes that are available for the educated as well as the illiterate for their economic development. She called upon all working women to know about the laws meant for their benefit and the law that protect their rights in factories etc. She cited Factories Act, Maternity Benefit Act and various other such laws. She lamented that even though there are many skill developments programmes dalit women are unable to utilize them properly. She suggested that this gap should be filled up by self-help groups specifically for dalit women. She concluded with the quote from Dr.B.R. Ambedkar who said self-help is best help and also that a nation flourishes only if the women of that nation develop.

Sri. Naveen elaborated about various schemes, the requirements of qualifications, eligibility criteria etc for each scheme, details of documents to be submitted, the process of applying for

a scheme online and benefits of each scheme.

After the speeches of the guests, a few dalit women who grounded some projects explained how they are trying to establish their projects and the difficulties they faced and how they solved the difficulties etc.

Sri. Hemalatha, Coordinator of DSS for Guntur district thanked the guests for attending the programme and for educating the dalit women about various aspects. She thanked everyone for their presence and making the programme a grand success.

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