Poverty Alleviation Current Affairs

October 15: International Day of Rural Women

The International Day of Rural Women is observed every year on October 15 to recognize the crucial role and contribution of rural women. The 2017 theme of the day is “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

The observance of day highlights role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women in enhancing rural and agricultural development, eradicating rural poverty and improving food security and ensuring sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing.

Background

The International Day of Rural Women was instituted by the UN General Assembly by passing resolution 62/136 in December 2007. It was first observed on15 October 2008. According to UN, empowerment of rural women is pre-requisite for fulfilling vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) which aims at ending poverty and hunger, achieve food security and empower all women and girls.

Rural women, make up over a quarter of the total world population. Majority of them depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihood.  They produce, prepare and process much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security. Thus, International Day of Rural Women recognises contribution and significant role played by these rural women in food security and poverty elevation.

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Government merges Ministries of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation  

The Union Government has merged the Ministries of Urban Development and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to form the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

With this merger, the Union Government now has 51 ministries. In 2004, there were total 42 ministries. The first government in independent India had just 17 ministries. 

Key Facts

The merger of ministries involved in policy making in urban areas into single ministry will help to ensure cohesiveness in formulating policies related to urban issues and cut the flab in bureaucracy.

These two ministries have a long history of mergers and de-mergers. This is third time the ministries have been merged. In 1952, they were one ministry which was known as the Ministry of Works, Housing and Supply. They were demerged in 1999, merged again in 2000 and bifurcated again in 2004.

Background

The recent merger of ministries was based on the recommendation of a panel of secretaries. The panel in February 2017 had recommended the merger of the two ministries to increase efficiency in governance. It had recommended that the ministries of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and urban development be merged and that the AYUSH and pharmaceuticals ministries be brought under the Health Ministry. The panel also recommended the need to corporatise the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

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