INTRODUCTION The Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) was set up in 1953 with the objective of promoting social welfare activities and implementing welfare programmes for women and children through voluntary organisations. The CSWB is unique in the sense that it was the first organisation in Post Independence era to achieve people's participation for implementation of welfare programmes for women and children through NGOs. The CSWB within the broad objective of empowering women and providing for the needs of children is implementing the following specific programmes/activities.
Under the scheme of condensed courses, voluntary organisations are given grants to conduct courses of 2 years duration to enable women of the age of 15 plus to pass matric/ secondary, middle and primary level examinations. Under the vocational training programme, grants are provided to give training to needy and deserving women in different vocations such as Draft designing, Computer courses, Typesetting, Batik, Handloom weaving, Nursery teacher training, Stenography etc. During the year 98-99, 677 condensed courses and vocational training programmes have been sanctioned providing benefit to 20,978 needy deserving women. Awareness Generation Programme for Rural and Poor Women The broad aim of this programme is to create awareness among rural and poor women on various social issues so that they can realise their potential in the family and society. During the year 98-99, 1622 camps were sanctioned covering 41,525 beneficiaries.
Socio Economic Programme (SEP) Under the programme, voluntary organisations are given financial assistance to take up variety of income generating activities which include the production of industrial components in auxiliary units, handlooms, handicrafts, agro-based activities such as animal husbandry, sericulture and fishery and self-employment ventures like vegetable or fish vending etc.
In order to provide accommodation for women who are working away from their homes, the Board gives assistance to voluntary organisations for running working women's hostels. During the year financial assistance is provided to 75 working women's hostels.
objective of the Voluntary Action Bureau and Family Counselling Centres is to provide
preventive and rehabilitative services to women (and children) who are victims of family
maladjustments and atrocities. During the year 98-99, 347 FCCs have been sanctioned.
Mandal Programme is the decentralised programme of the Board and being run by the State
Boards. These programmes started in 1961-62 in those areas where there were no voluntary
organisations to take up welfare services for women and children. These Groups of women
function essentially like NGOs and they form an entry point for comprehensive welfare
services to be taken to the grass-roots level. During the year 98-99, 549 centres covering
56,400 beneficiaries were sanctioned to various State Boards.
Border areas projects are implemented for strengthening of welfare services in border areas with a view to promoting emotional and cultural integration with the rest of the country. At present there are 87 projects functioning in the remote border areas of the country.
Apart from these programmes, the CSWB is implementing innovative schemes in the areas and social sectors which have remained untouched and uncovered in the entire process of development and social welfare. The other activities of CSWB includes Family Counselling, Monitoring and Evaluation of Schemes being implemented in the States and publication of Monthly Journals namely, 'Social Welfare' (English) and 'Samaj Kalyan' (Hindi).
The establishment of the Central Social Welfare Board on 13th August, 1953 marked the first attempt to systematize welfare efforts in the country. The founding of the CSWB owed itself largely to the efforts of Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh, Pt. Nehru described this effort as a unique combination of central and local initiatives. The CSWB was structured as a system by which govt. funds could be channelised to local social welfare organisations.
The schemes of Condensed Courses of Education and Vocational Training were started in 1958 and 1975 respectively. These enable women of the age agroup of 15 plus to acquire scholastic qualifications and marketable skills.
The Awareness Generation Programme was introduced in 1986 with the objective of raising the general awareness of rural women through camps of 1-8 days duration where they are given training and information on a variety of subjects ranging from nutrition and hygiene to legal literacy. Information about programmes for the empowerment of women is also imparted at these camps.
Economic Empowerment Scheme :
The Socio-Economic Programme, initiated in 1958, provides financial assistance to voluntary organisations to take up income generating activities for women beneficiaries. The activities range from small scale industries to animal husbandry and self-employment ventures such as vegetable vending.
The Board provides support services for working women in the form of assistance to NGOs for running Crehes for Children of Working & Ailing Mothers and Working Women's Hostels.
The Voluntary Action Bureaus (VAB) and Family Counselling Centres (FCCs) were conceived as a method of providing counselling and rehabilitative services to women whose lives are threatened by family crises. The FCCs aim to strengthen and preserve families through timely intervention and counselling services. NGOs are given grants to conduct Legal Literacy Camps in those districts that have been classified as being low in the social development of women or having a high concentration of educationally backward groups and in crime prone areas. Family Counselling Centres are also attached to Police Headquarters in order to provide intervention in cases of family violence that are reported to the police. About 500 such Centres are being supported by the Board in various States.
The Board is also providing grants to NGOs that run Short Stay Homes for women in distress. Roughly 270 such Homes are being run with CSWB's support in various parts of the country.
In areas where NGOs did not exist, the Mahila Mandal Programme was initiated in 1961 to take welfare services to women and children in need. These groups of women function essentially as voluntary groups and they provide an entry point for the social development of marginalised groups of women.
Border Area Projects and Welfare Extension Projects are multipurpose Projects which provide pre-primary education, skill training, maternity services and recreation in rural and border areas. These schemes were initiated by the Board in the 50's & 60's.
Special groups of women and children in especially difficult circumstances, e.g. mentally retarded children, children of prostitutes, the widows of Mathura and Vrindavan, are covered under Innovative Schemes.
The Board publishes two monthly periodicals - 'Social Welfare' and 'Samaj Kalyan'. These were established in 1954 and 1955 respectively. These magazines are semi-technical journals that focus on a wide canvas of social research, welfare initiatives, anthropology, sociology and stories of human interest. The Board is presently making efforts to intensify its work in the area of awareness generation and community mobilisation on important social issues. The year 1999 is being observed as 'Chetna Parv' or the year of Awareness Generation. Different socially relevant issues and themes have been taken up each month e.g. education, health the aged etc.
The CSWB is
structured as an autonomous organisation, registered under the Companies Act. It functions
under the aegis of the Department of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Human
Resource Development, Government of India. The Board is headed by a Chairperson. The
present Chairperson is Smt. Mridula Sinha.