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Maternity Benefits Act to reach all sectors in Kerala

Governor’s policy address also stresses on the need concerted action to ensure women’s well-being

The benefits of the Maternity Benefit Act and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act will reach all sectors, especially the private and the unorganised sector, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has said.

In his policy address on Friday, he reiterated the need for concerted action by various government departments and society to eliminate ills such as child marriage, dowry system, gender bias, and violence and discrimination against women and children.

Mr. Khan said the anganwadi system had to be reformed to suit the requirements of a modern State. Anganwadis played a key role in overall development of women and children, he said.

Reiterating the State’s priority for comprehensive development and empowerment of women and children, he said impetus would be given to nutrition, safety, equality and other realms of interaction of women and children.

The government, as a policy, was committed to ensuring the freedom of movement for women throughout the State, the Governor said in his address.

He spoke of the plan to focus attention on mainstreaming women, developing a gender-sensitive legal system, identifying vulnerable groups, menstrual hygiene, and fighting against non-communicable diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS among women.

As the State had a large number of single women, especially those who were elderly, the government aimed at emphasising their active engagement in its programmes. Women collectives would be encouraged further, he said.

The government, as a policy, would ensure basic minimum facilities for child-care institutions; hostels, including those for the working women; shelter homes; creches; and so on.

Social Justice

The setting up of the Women and Child Development Department in the State had allowed the Social Justice Department to focus attention on the needs of marginalised sections such as the differently abled, senior citizens, and transgenders, Mr. Khan said.

The State would ensure reservation in jobs as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act in a time-bound manner.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, would be implemented with renewed vigour taking into account the needs of the ageing population.

He noted that the past five years had witnessed the mainstreaming of the transgender people. They would be brought to the forefront of the society and empowered to reach the top of the social ladder, he said.

Praising the developments in the probation system in the State over the past five years, the Governor said it would be strengthened further.

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