Female drivers in Kolkata cabs soon

Kolkata will soon boast of having women taxi drivers as the Bengal government has devised a two-pronged strategy to bring them on the driver’s seat – training for drivers and training to defend themselves in case of a sudden attack. The entire programme is targeted to provide financial relief to women from financially weaker strata of society.

The project is being jointly coordinated by an NGO and the state government’s Woman and Child Development and Social Welfare department.

“A few women have been selected for the purpose,” the minister said, adding the training was being provided an NGO. The educational qualification has been fixed at either eighth standard or matriculation.

“There has been a growing demand for women drivers. Of late, there is an increase in demand for women cab drivers in the state,” the Minister said. The minister said the government would get in touch with private cab service companies also to hire trained women drivers.


খুব শিগগিরি কলকাতার রাস্তায় দেখা যাবে মহিলা ট্যাক্সিচালক

রাজ্য সরকারের উদ্যোগে খুব শিগগিরি কলকাতার রাস্তায় দেখা যাবে মহিলা ট্যাক্সিচালক। মহিলাদের গাড়ি চালানো সেখানোর পাশাপাশি তাদের আত্মরক্ষার প্রশিক্ষণও দেওয়া হবে। অর্থনৈতিকভাবে সমাজের পিছিয়ে পড়া শ্রেণীর মহিলাদের স্বাবলম্বী করতেই মুলত এই উদ্যোগ নিয়েছেন রাজ্য সরকার।

একটি সেচ্ছাসেবী সংস্থা ও রাজ্য সরকারের নারী, শিশু ও সমাজ কল্যান দপ্তর যৌথভাবে এই উদ্যোগ নিয়েছে।

রাজ্যের নারী কল্যাণ মন্ত্রী বলেন, কিছু মহিলাকে এই প্রকল্পের জন্য বেছে নেওয়া হয়েছে। শিক্ষাগত যোগ্যতা হিসেবে ম্যাট্রিক বা অষ্টম শ্রেণী উত্তীর্ণ ধার্য করা হয়েছে।

মন্ত্রী বলেন, “মহিলা ট্যাক্সিচালকের চাহিদা ইদানিং বেড়েছে।” তিনি আরও বলেন, সরকার বেসরকারি ট্যাক্সি পরিষেবা প্রদানকারী সংস্থাগুলোর সঙ্গেও কথা বলবে মহিলা ট্যাক্সিচালকদের সুযোগ দেওয়ার জন্য।

‘1000 Days’ campaign launched for mother, child care in West Bengal

West Bengal Department of Child Development and Social Welfare and UNICEF today launched ‘1000 Days’ campaign to reach out to every mother and child across the state for their healthier and prosperous future.

“The 1000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday offer an unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous future. The right nutrition and care during this period can have a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty,” state Women and Child Welfare minister, Shashi Panja said.

The campaign, which will be carried out for the next 12 months with a budget of Rs 1,474 crore to be funded by both the centre and the state, would be taken to every block in the state.

It would engage a large network of NGOs, institutions and community mobilisers to reach out to young mothers, the minister said.

Bengal Govt observes National Nutrition Week

To enhance community-based initiatives in educating mothers and caregivers on nutrition issues, the West Bengal government is observing National Nutrition Week till next Monday.

“We are carrying out a series of convergent and well-coordinated activities in different sectors in a mission mode to address the issues which may lead to under-nutrition, especially in the socially and economically backward communities,” state Women and Child Welfare Minister Dr Shashi Panja said.

The state government has mobilised their state-wide network of ICDS centres and frontline functionaries to reach out to the maximum number of people at the community level.

Child rights body UNICEF has also been working closely with the state.

UNICEF officials said nutrition is not confined to food only, rather refers to an interplay of health and immunisation, environmental and personal hygiene and sanitation, in addition to age appropriate nutritionally dense food and feeding practices.

“Nutrition is an issue of survival, health and development for current and succeeding generations. Children born underweight may have impaired immune function, increased risk of diseases, low learning abilities due to impaired cognitive ability, thus affecting their school performance and then productivity in their later life,” Panja said.

National Nutrition Week is celebrated annually from September 1 to 7.

Across all districts, activities like community-level nutrition and health promotion camps, community sensitisation sessions, cooking demonstration and recipe competition quiz shows, etc are being carried out.

WB CM launches ‘Muktir Alo’ – Rehabilitation scheme for sex workers

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today launched ‘Muktir Alo’, a rehabilitation scheme for sex workers and women rescued from human trafficking.

The proposed scheme would help them to return to the mainstream, Minister for Women and Child Development, Dr Shashi Panja had earlier said in the Assembly.

She said that the registered persons would be given house rent and transport allowance during the training period. The period of training would be six months, she said.

During the launch programme, WB CM said that her government was committed to working for the upliftment of the marginalised section of the society.

“We launched ‘Muktir Alo’ initiative for those who are downtrodden and neglected by society. It is our responsibility. We have also set up a development board for transgenders,” she said.

“We have set up a Little Star board for the welfare of little people. We are working for welfare of backward communities,” she added.

Mamata Banerjee tweeted in the morning:

Bengal plans to strengthen ICDS programme

The West Bengal government has decided to set up 2,311 more ‘Anganwadi’ Centres in the state to extend the programme under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

“A decision to this effect has been taken by the state cabinet on Wednesday. The new Anganwadi Centres will cover 12 districts in the state and incur an additional expense of Rs 26 crore,” state’s Social Welfare, Women and Child development Minister Sashi Panja said.

She added that there would be a recruitment of 4622 Anganwadi Workers and 92 supervisors in the state for this extension programme under ICDS project.

The 12 districts to be covered include Burdwan, Murshidabad, East Midnapore, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Bankura, Birbhum, Hooghly, Malda, Nadia, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri.

The Left Front government had set up only 19,586 Anganwadi Centres during its 34-year rule. In the last four years, Trinamool led government set up 19,980 Anganwadi Centres in the state to extend the facilities to a larger section of people aimed at reducing malnutrition among children.


The image is representative

West Bengal Govt forms India’s first Transgender Development Board

Dr Sashi Panja, Minister-In-Charge for Women and Child Development, Government of West Bengal addressed a Press Conference at Nabanna and announced the State Cabinet has passed the constitution of the Transgender Development Board, the first such Board in the country.

While addressing the Press Conference the Minister said that the constitution of the Board was done on the initiative of the West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee who is very much concerned for this section of the people. The transgender community are often seen to be deprived of education, employment and health related issues.

“They are reduced to begging on the streets and face other forms socio-economic discrimination,” said the Minister.

She said that the representatives of the transgender community have been meeting the Chief Minister on this issue.

To address these problems the Chief Minister came up with an idea to constitute a Board for Transgender Development. The Board will have 12 persons, to be headed by a Chairperson. This Board will represent various transgender communities in the state and coordinate with the State’s Coordination Committee, which will be headed by the Minister of Women and Child Development.

The Board will distribute Identification Cards to the members of the transgender community, taking care of education, health and employment related issues. They will uphold all Rights as Citizens of India for their people and take care of the population census too.

The State Cabinet has passed this very important decision and has given a green signal to set up this Development Board, which is the first of its kind in the country.