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The setting-up of the state women’s commission in Jharkhand was the fulfillment of a long-cherished desire of the people, especially the women of the state, to have an authoritative yet sympathetic forum for listening to and addressing grievances exclusively for women.

The Bill, pertaining to the establishment of the commission, was passed by the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha, thereby making it an Act in 2005. Subsequently, vide notification number 1221 dated September 16, 2006, of the Social Welfare, Women and Child Development Department, Jharkhand.

The state women’s commission has been entrusted with varied responsibilities, which include hearing complaints and arranging for their redressals, studying all enactments concerned with women and their rights and giving creative suggestions, visiting jails and other detention centres or shelter homes and monitoring their improvement, seeing that the different government schemes for women, especially regarding social welfare, health, education, labour, among others, are properly implemented.

Coordinating with the government authorities and non-government organisations for starting various projects for the welfare of women, all come under the responsibilities given to the commission. It is, therefore, a very interesting scenario for the commission, full of challenges on the road ahead. The setting up of the Jharkhand state women’s commission is definitely a step in the right direction. Ever since, it has seen a steady stream of complainants coming in. They belong to different streams and strata of the Jharkhand society, but their complaints all tell stories of suffering, anguish and deprivation of basic rights.

Most of the cases pertain to dowry, domestic violence and trafficking of women and children, while some relate to sexual harassment at the work place. Trafficking of women and children is a core issue which women commission plans to take up as one of the major challenges. Joining hands with NGOs the issues will be strongly dealt with.The state women’s commission has started reaching out to these women, despite its still negligible financial and logistical support.

In certain cases, as soon as the respondents get notices from the commission, they become anxious for compromise. No doubt, this is too early a stage to assess the impact of the work of the state women’s commission, but if the increasing number of complaints is any indicator, one can conclude that the setting up of the commission was a necessity long overdue.