How PM Modi's policies enabled more women to join workforce, reap benefits

IANS Photo

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) From extending maternity leave benefits to relaxation in labour laws to providing creches, the policies led by the Modi government have enabled a significant number of women to join the workforce.

The effects are visible in the declining female unemployment rate and increasing female labour force participation.

Data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) showed that the female unemployment rate decreased to 8.5 per cent in January-March this year from 9.2 per cent in 2023.

The female labour force participation rate (LFPR) in urban areas rose to 25.6 per cent during January-March, 2024, from 22.7 per cent last year.

Further, female worker population ratio in urban areas also rose to 23.4 per cent during January-March this year. In January-March 2023 it was 20.6 per cent.

The PLFS report, compiled by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, is based on a survey of 44,598 urban households and 1,69,459 people in urban areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in 2017, announced 26-week maternity leave for working mothers, instead of the earlier 12 weeks, for their pregnancy and delivery.

"The basic aim is to ensure proper care of the newborn, the future citizen of India, from the time of birth," PM Modi had said at the time.

Earlier this year, the government in an advisory asked employers to provide paid maternity leave to registered road construction workers for 26 weeks for up to two deliveries.

In the case of adoption or commissioning, the mothers were entitled to get 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.

The advisory also included miscarriages. If a woman in the construction sector experiences a miscarriage, she is entitled to get leave with wages equivalent to maternity benefits for six weeks following the day of the miscarriage.

The government's policies also asked employers to facilitate a safe and supportive environment for female workers during night shifts, ensuring transportation services for pick-up and drop-off, especially during night-time hours.

Further, PM Modi government's also rolled out standards and protocols for setting up creches that will provide comprehensive childcare in a safe and secure environment, and also foster the overall development of children in the country.

"These Standards and Protocol focus strongly on standardising and institutionalising the Care economy, contributing significantly to the vision of 'Women-led Development'.