Women Component Plan
The 9th and 10th Five Year Plan of Government of India, had important objectives for women; it envisaged gender mainstreaming and also had a new component Women Component Plan (WCP), the objective of which being women empowerment by improving the status of women in society and it was for the first time in history, empowerment of women was adopted as an objective in the Five year Plans. Kerala introduced Women’s Component Plan (WCP) at the Local Self Government (LSG) level. In Kerala, during the 9th Five Year Plan, it was instructed that allocation of 10 percent of Plan outlays for all departments should be mandatorily earmarked for women-specific projects. The key objective of WCP is to make sure that the basic needs of women got acknowledged, the focus was on increasing the activities that improved the income of women and also on activities that will ensure improvement in status of women, thus there was a conscious effort to mainstream gender in local planning process.
The guidelines for WCP in Kerala have given clear instructions regarding the type of projects to be included under WCP. These include:
(1) Projects like roads, latrines, electrification, and smokeless chullahs which have women and men both as beneficiaries need not to be included in WCP. However District Panchayats and Corporations can include housing schemes under WCP for women headed families which have no adult males.
(2) Cultivation of vegetables, goat rearing, poultry etc. should be excluded from WCP. Funds required for food and nutrition programme of Anganwadis and pre-primary education programme need not to be included under WCP. Construction of Anganwadi buildings which have no separate provisions for organizing meetings of women need not be included under WCP.
(3) As far as possible, WCP projects should be organized and implemented through SHGs of women, neighborhood groups and other groups and cooperative societies. Financial assistance for thrift and credit schemes of BPL families, which are nominated by Kudumbashree, self-help group and neighborhood groups are to be included under WCP.
(4) Special consideration should be given for projects that aim at development of infrastructure facility, marketing facility and entrepreneurship programme for development of micro enterprises owned by women under WCP.
(5) Cottage industries for women promoted by the Industries Department can be given financial assistance under WCP, subject to prevailing norms.
(6) Gram panchayats and municipalities can take up projects for comprehensive study of status of women in their respective areas under WCP.