The government has developed the 'Standard for Operation of Livelihood Improvement Programme, 2021' prioritising employment for indigent and single women on the basis of their skills, capacity, and qualification to provide them economic and social opportunities.

The standard, approved by the Council of Ministers, aims to mainstream women into national development through empowerment under the President Women Upliftment Programme.

The standard has set three objectives. They include enhancement of women's living standard, their empowerment through entrepreneurship development by ensuring judicious use of local resources, and consolidation of capacity of organisations established by women for improvement of income generation and livelihood.

As per the standard, this programme will be implemented in 55 districts that lag behind in Nepal's Human Development Index. "This programme will mainly focus on agriculture and livestock, tourism and non-agriculture sectors and provide grants to beneficiary women for establishment and operation of business by providing necessary skills training.

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

For this standard, agriculture and non-agriculture sectors include cooperative farming, group farming, modern farming, animal husbandry, fishery and apiculture. Similarly, the tourism sector incorporates, homestay, hotel, restaurant, trekking, tour guide and business activities based on local resources and culture.

Similarly, non-agriculture sector is related to production and processing of forest-based products, weaving, embroidery, hosiery, bakery, handicraft, driving, plumbing, beauty parlour and saloon, among others.

The standard requires the local levels concerned to select the registered organisations by inviting proposals from them through a public notice.

There is provision of a five-member committee headed by deputy chief of the local level for evaluation of the proposals received from interested organisations.

The organisations selected for the operation of the programmes mentioned in the standard should accord priority to indigent, single, COVID-19 affected, victims of violence, and unemployed women.

"The beneficiary women shall be selected ensuring that only one woman is selected from a household," it reads. The implementation of the programmes shall be monitored by the local level concerned.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 1, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.