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Commission on Population and Development

Commission on Population and Development

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  • The event, titled “Localizing the SDGs: Women in Local Governance in India Lead the Way,”  was organized during the 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57).

Details of the event:

  • The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
  • It took place during the 57th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from April 29th to May 3rd, 2024.
  • The event aims to highlight the role of Indian women in grassroots political leadership and their contributions to sustainable development at the local level.
  • The delegation representing Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) from rural local self-governments in India was led by the Secretary of, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India.
  • The importance of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in advancing gender equality and women's leadership in grassroots governance, strategies from India’s PRIs aimed at enhancing gender equality and women's empowerment, particularly focusing on poverty reduction and inclusive development, etc were discussed in the meeting.
  • The event aims to showcase India’s model of empowering EWRs to localize the SDGs, highlighting their roles in championing gender equality, poverty alleviation, and inclusive development at the grassroots level.

India’s  Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and how they help in SDG Localization:

India has 1.4 million women serving as elected members of PRIs, constituting 46% of total representatives.

  • Community-Centered Approach: EWRs often prioritize community needs and development, aligning them with SDGs. In rural areas, women representatives may advocate for clean water and sanitation facilities (SDG 6) by spearheading initiatives for constructing community water wells or organizing sanitation drives.
  • Empowerment Through Education: EWRs promote education (SDG 4), especially for girls, as a means of empowerment. They might push for building schools in marginalized areas or advocate for policies ensuring equal access to education.A woman leader might campaign for scholarships or free textbooks for girls in her constituency.
  • Healthcare Accessibility: EWRs play a crucial role in ensuring healthcare access (SDG 3), particularly for women and children. They might advocate for the establishment of health centers, maternity clinics, or vaccination drives in underserved areas.
  • Economic Empowerment: EWRs focus on economic empowerment (SDG 1 and 8) by supporting initiatives like microfinance programs, skill development training, and women's cooperatives. They might push for policies that provide loans or grants for women entrepreneurs or advocate for fair wages and safe working conditions. A woman leader might facilitate the formation of self-help groups for women to start small businesses or crafts enterprises.
  • Environmental Conservation: EWRs champion environmental sustainability (SDG 13, 14, and 15) by promoting eco-friendly practices and conservation efforts at the local level. They might advocate for waste management programs, tree plantation drives, or sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Social Inclusion and Gender Equality: EWRs actively work towards promoting social inclusion (SDG 5 and 10) and gender equality. They advocate for policies that address issues like gender-based violence, discrimination, and unequal opportunities. They could push for the implementation of gender-sensitive laws, such as those related to inheritance rights or workplace harassment, to ensure equal treatment and protection for women in society.

Case studies

Chhavi Rajawat:

Chhavi Rajawat is known for her remarkable work in women's empowerment at the grassroots level. She gained prominence as the Sarpanch (village head) of Soda village in Rajasthan. Chhavi, an MBA graduate, left her corporate job to serve her ancestral village. Under her leadership, Soda witnessed a transformation with improved infrastructure, access to clean water, and better educational facilities.Chhavi initiated several women-centric programs aimed at empowering them economically and socially. She encouraged the formation of self-help groups (SHGs) to promote entrepreneurship among women, provided vocational training, and organized awareness campaigns on health and education. Chhavi's efforts not only empowered women in Soda but also inspired similar initiatives across the country, showcasing the potential of women leaders in local self-government.

Tulsi Prajapati:

Tulsi Prajapati, from the state of Madhya Pradesh, is another inspiring example of women's empowerment in local self-government. She became the Sarpanch of Barkheda Panth village at the age of 24, making her one of the youngest women leaders in rural India. Despite facing opposition and skepticism due to her gender and age, Tulsi proved her leadership abilities through her dedication and innovative approach to governance. Tulsi focused on addressing critical issues affecting women in her village, including access to education, healthcare, and sanitation. She implemented various development projects, such as building schools, toilets, and healthcare centers, to improve the quality of life for women and their families. Tulsi also encouraged women's participation in decision-making processes, empowering them to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights. Tulsi's leadership and commitment to women's empowerment have made a significant impact in Barkheda Panth and served as a model for inclusive and effective governance in rural areas of India. Her story demonstrates the transformative power of women leaders in local self-government in driving positive change and advancing gender equality.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Under the 73rd Amendment Act for Panchayati Raj Institutions, one-third of the total seats are reserved for women. Similarly, under the 74th Amendment Act for Municipalities, one-third of the seats are reserved for women. This initiative aims to provide women with opportunities to participate in decision-making processes at the grassroots level, thereby empowering them politically and socially.

Ministry of Panchayati Raj Initiatives:

  • The Ministry has launched initiatives such as the Leadership and Management Development Programme to empower EWRs effectively.
  • Themes like “Women-Friendly Panchayat” underscore the Ministry’s objective of promoting women’s rights and participation in local governance.

​Commission on Population and Development

  • It was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1946.
  • It serves as the primary UN body responsible for monitoring, reviewing, and assessing global population trends, issues, and policies. Its mandate includes promoting sustainable development strategies that integrate population factors and addressing population-related challenges.
  • The CPD holds annual sessions at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. During these sessions, member states, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders convene to discuss and deliberate on population and development issues.
  • They provide policy recommendations and guidance to member states and the international community based on its deliberations and analysis of population trends and challenges. These recommendations aim to inform national policies, programs, and strategies to address population dynamics and promote sustainable development.
  • The work of the CPD is closely aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Population dynamics are recognized as critical factors influencing the achievement of various SDG targets, such as those related to health, education, gender equality, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.




Q. Discuss the role of women's empowerment in local governance in India. Highlight key initiatives, challenges, and outcomes, with a focus on enhancing women's participation, leadership, and socio-economic development at the grassroots level.( 250 words)