Training for Women Heads of Panchayats
           Although 33 per cent posts of heads of Gram Panchayats have been reserved for women,
      they are unable to exercise real authority for betterment of villages due to lack of training and
      continued dominance/interference by their husbands, etc. In order to empower these women at
      grass root level, WCD has initiated a massive programme to train over 2 lakh women heads of
      Panchayats. The training was started from 2016 onwards in partnership with Ministry of Rural
      Development. The training modules cover all aspects of village level management including
      basic knowledge of government schemes, social issues and their resolution, management of
      panchayat finances, village infrastructure, etc. This Scheme is being implemented in
      collaboration with Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
      Extending Maternity Leave Duration
           The WCD Ministry has been working to extend the maternity leave period for working
      women to seven months to enable them to provide exclusive breastfeeding to children for six
      months after child birth and complementary foods thereafter to help reduce incidence of
      malnutrition. Ministry of Labour and Employment carried out suitable amendments in the Act,
      which are as follows: (i) enhancement of maternity leave under Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
      from existing 12 weeks to 26 weeks; (ii) extension of maternity benefit to adopting mothers and
      commissioning mothers; (iii) establishment of creche facility within the office/factory premises.
           The Act is now called the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.
      Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace
           To ensure safety and security of women at workplaces, the Ministry of Women and Child
      Development is working towards the effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of
      Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. In this regard,
      advisories and monitoring framework have been issued to state governments/central ministries/
      departments to ensure the effective implementation of the sexual harassment Act, expeditious
      inquiry into the complaint and to prevent further victimisation of the complainant. In addition,
      MWCD has also prepared and released a Handbook on the Act which provides information about
      the provisions of the Act in an easy-to-use practical manner.
      Village Convergence and Facilitation Service
           Village Convergence and Facilitation Service (VCFS) is an initiative launched in 2015
      aimed at creating awareness through community engagement. Dedicated village coordinators are
      selected to facilitate convergence on women’s issues and work in close coordination with the
      gram panchayat and its subcommittees. In this manner, issues pertaining to education, health,
      nutrition, legal rights, safety and security of women are addressed and access to schemes/
      programmes being implemented by the government such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Jan Dhan
      Yojana, One Stop Centre, Women Helpline, etc., are provided. VCFS has been extended from
      100 gender critical districts to cover 303 districts across the country.
      Rashtriya Mahila Kosh
           Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) is a society, registered under the Societies Registration Act,
      1860 and an apex micro-finance organization established in 1993. The main objective of RMK is
      to provide micro-credit to poor women through intermediary organizations (IMO), which