Women Commission in India

Women Commission in India

News: This article focusses on the role of Women commission in India, challenges it faces and particularly in context of what has happened in Manipur.

Background:
• According to reports, National Commission for Women was informed about Manipur sexual assault as early as June 12th 2023. The chairperson of the commission said that she wrote to state authorities thrice about violence against women, but did not receive a response.

What are Women Commissions in India?
• Established in 1992, as per the National Commission for Women Act 1990, the National commission for women is expected to take up the concerns of women at the national level. Each state also has its own commission.

About Manipur State commission for Women:
• The Manipur State Commission for Women (MSCW) was constituted in September 2006 as a statutory body as per the Manipur State Commission for Women Act, 2006.
• It is mandated to safeguard the interests of women with a wide mandate that covers all aspects of women’s development.

Why have women commission in India been ineffective in protecting Manipur’s women?
• Failure to address numerous complaints received from Manipur.
• The commissions focus heavily on paperwork, neglecting fieldwork. Actual on-ground issues remain unattended, as members prioritize files over field visits.
• Political appointments in commission is another issue where members are nominated by ruling party and they fail to act against those in power.
• Lack of coordination between National commissions and agencies in state (police, state women commission) especially as seen in the case of Manipur.

Way Forward
• A social audit of the performance of different commissions by competent external agencies on a regular basis would give citizens an idea of their actual working.
• Increase the number of field visits and understand the ground situation.
• Reform the appointment process.
• Strengthen co-operation and collaboration with law enforcement agencies. 

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