SWADHAR – A scheme for women in difficult circumstances. Government of Karnataka

Introduction to Department of Women and Child Development, Karnataka

Government of Karnataka has by and then taken a lot of initiatives for the betterment of women and children. The  Constitution of India  authorizes the  Government  to take  measures  for  the protection of  women  and  children.  In accordance to this, several progressive steps  have been  taken by  Government  of  Karnataka to ensure the care and protection of women and children. SWADHAR scheme is one of the initiatives taken by the government for the betterment of women and children.

The Department of Probation and After Care Services  was established  in 1956. It functioned under the Social Welfare Department wherein focus was mainly given on the empowerment of women and children. A  separate  directorate  of Women and Child Development was created in 1975, during the “International Year of Women”, with the objective of giving  the much needed impetus to the holistic development of women and children.

The strategy adopted for the programmes in the areas of women development involves development through education and awareness. Although greater emphasis was given on vocational training and employment so as to enable them to enter the mainstream of economic development as equal partners with the masculine community. The centralized aim is to help women become self sufficient and economically independent with the help of training and income generating activities so as to enhance their earning capacity and to bring up their status in life.

Introduction to SWADHAR scheme

Swadhar is one of the many schemes put forward by the Central Government and it is implemented by many states, including Karnataka. This scheme works for providing holistic and integrated services to women  in difficult circumstances  such as destitute widows, women prisoners released from jail and without family support, women survivors of  natural disasters; trafficked women or girls  rescued from brothels or other places  or victims of sexual crime, mentally challenged women who are without any support etc. The package  of services made available include provision for food, clothing, shelter, health care, counselling and legal support, social and economic rehabilitation through education, awareness generation , skill upgradation.

Objectives of the SWADHAR scheme

Following are the basic aim and objectives of the scheme.

  1. To provide primary need of shelter, food, clothing and care to the marginalized women or girls living in difficult circumstances who are without any social and economic support
  2. To provide emotional support and counseling to such women
  3. To rehabilitate them socially and economically through education, awareness, skill up gradation and personality development through behavioral training etc
  4. To arrange for specific clinical, legal and other support for women/girls in need of those intervention by linking and networking with other organizations in both Govt. & Non-Govt. sector on case to case basis
  5. To provide for help line or other facilities to such women in distress
  6. To provide such other services as will be required for the support and rehabilitation to such women in distress.

Target Group or Beneficiaries of the SWADHAR scheme

The following shall be the target group beneficiaries of the scheme:

  1. Widows deserted by their families and relatives and left improvident near religious places where they are treated as victims of exploitation
  2. Women prisoners released from jail and without family support
  3. Women survivors of natural disaster who have been rendered homeless and are without any social and economic support
  4. Trafficked women/girls rescued or runaway from brothels or other places or women/girl victims of sexual crimes who are disowned by family or who do not want to go back to respective family for various reasons
  5. Women victims of terrorist/extremist- violence who are without any family support and without any economic means for survival
  6. Mentally challenged women (except for the psychotic categories who require care in specialized environment in mental hospitals) who are without any support of family or relatives.
  7. Women with HIV/AIDS deserted by their family or women who have lost their husband due to HIV/AIDS and are without social/economic support or similarly placed women in difficult circumstances.

Implementing agencies of SWADHAR

The implementing agencies can be the Social Welfare/Women and Child Welfare Department of State Government, Women’s Development Corporations, Urban Local Bodies, reputed Public/Private Trust or NGOs who are willing to take up the responsibility of rehabilitating such women. The organization must have adequate experience and expertise of taking up such works or rehabilitation.

Eligibility criteria of the agency for SWADHAR

The implementing NGO must fulfil the following eligibility conditions:

  • The organisation should be registered under law and must have a properly constituted Managing Body with its powers, duties and responsibilities clearly defined and laid down in its Constitution;
  • The organisation must not work for the profit of any individual or body of individuals;
  • It should ordinarily have three years experience after its registration.
  • Its financial position should be sound;
  • It should have facilities, resources, experience and personnel to initiate the scheme for which assistance is sought. The implementing agencies may seek assistance for all the components as mentioned above under the scheme. However, assistance can be sought for a few components also provided that the other facilities are available and holistic care is provided by the organisation to the women in difficult circumstances.

Main components of the SWADHAR scheme

The scheme shall have the following main components:

a)Assistance for construction of buildings for the Centre

b)Rent for the shelter

c)Assistance for the management of the Centre.

d)Provision for food, shelter and clothing for the women and their children below the age of 18 years

e)Counselling for the women in difficult circumstances

f)Clinical, legal and other support for women in difficult circumstances who are in need of that intervention.

g)Training for the economic rehabilitation of such women

h)Help line facilities for such women

From 2016-17 the Swadhar centre and short stay home merged and named as “Swadhar Gruha” .  The scheme is implemented through voluntary organizational with sharing pattern 60:40 by central and state Government.  During 2016-17 the grants are released to 46 swadhar centres in the State.