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Ministry of Women & Child Development turns to citizens for policy suggestions

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The Women and Child Development Ministry has launched a month-long citizen-driven campaign called “Agents of Change” on August 21 which is aimed at crowd-sourcing suggestions for policy reforms and raising concerns related to women and children.

The campaign, which is running on the ministry’s Facebook profile and Twitter handle, invited “people to be change makers in promoting the interests of women and children in India”.

“We want to unlock the unique power of social crusaders among the people of India”, Maneka Gandhi said while launching the scheme.

Even though the ministry has a relatively small following on social media, sources in the government say, it has been extremely interactive. The ministry received suggestions and concerns through letters, emails, and social media over two years. This pushed the WCD to launch a formal campaign to crowd-source these ideas.

A single mother, Priyanka Gupta’s campaign on change.org in 2016 led to one of the ministry’s most welcome reforms. The ministry allowed individuals to only submit their mother’s names in their passport applications.

Another proposal had been made to initiate reforms regarding the mandatory mention of the names of fathers and husbands on SC/ST certificates. The WCD ministry has written to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and a National Policy for Women is presently under consideration by the Cabinet.

A total of ten such interventions made by individuals have been taken up by the ministry so far.

Behind the campaign is a team of four youngsters, including a graphic designer and an audio-visual content in-charge. As opposed to other ministries, which outsource such tasks to agencies, the WCD ministry is spending about a lakh each on them which is lower than other campaigns, an official from the ministry said, on condition of anonymity.

The suggestions received will be screened by an expert panel comprising the concerned stakeholders, including the Union Minister Maneka Gandhi herself. The issues selected will be taken up to be addressed as policy.


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