The federal government has issued the 'Standard for Operation of Livelihood Improvement Programme, 2021' with a view to enhancing women's standard of living and empowering them through entrepreneurship development by ensuring judicious use of local resources.

The standard approved by the Council of Ministers also aims to strengthen the capacity of organisations for improving income generation and livelihood of women by giving greater priority to indigent and single women in employment on the basis of their skills, capacity and qualification.

As per the standard, women will be mainstreamed into national development through their empowerment under the President Women Upliftment Programme implemented by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizen.

Officials at the MoWCSC said the programmes under this standard would be operated in 55 districts that lag behind in Human Development Index. They will mainly focus on agriculture and livestock, tourism and non-agriculture sectors in a bid to provide grants to women beneficiaries for establishment and operation of business by providing necessary skill-oriented training.

"It is expected to help them create employment and self-employment opportunities," says the standard.

Agriculture and non-agriculture sectors include cooperative farming, group farming, modern farming, animal husbandry, fishery and apiculture.

Similarly, tourism sector incorporates homestay, hotel, restaurant, trekking, tour guide and business activities based on local resources and culture.

The non-agriculture sector is related to production and processing of forest-based products, weaving, embroidery, hosiery, bakery, handicraft, driving, plumbing, beauty parlour, saloon, among others. The standard requires the local levels concerned to select the registered organisations by inviting proposals from them through public notice.

The standard has provision for a five-member committee headed by deputy chief of the local level for evaluation of the proposals received from interested organisations for operation of programmes. The organisations selected for operation of programmes should accord priority to indigent, single, COVID-affected, and unemployed women.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 28, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.