National Commission for Women (NCW) – Composition, Functions, Chairperson

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The National Commission for Women (NCW) was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. The National Commission for Women was established to provide an equal and justified livelihood for women by making it legal through constitutional amendments.

To stop the violence against women in social classes and different cultures, the concept of the National Commission for Women was introduced. Domestic violence and other types of violence against women are the crimes counted under the violation of human rights. National Commission for Women is an essential topic for the UPSC exam, for both Prelims and Mains. Aspirants must be well aware of the history, composition, powers, and issues related to NCW.

What is National Commission for Women?

National Commission for Women can be considered a supreme body that looks after the welfare of women in society. Reports have been released by the commissions, which collectively displayed the need for setting up a body to review and address women’s grievances in the country.

National Commission for Women is a part of the National Commission for Women Act, passed in 1990, and the National Commission on Women was instituted in 1992. Apart from dealing with domestic violence or violence against women, it also acts as an advisor to the government in making policies to safeguard women’s rights. It enjoys all the powers of a civil court.

The vision carried out by National Commission for Women is to provide security to Indian women inside-out, empower them, and give them access to all the rights to her in their domestic and professional life.

History of National Women Commission

The NCW was established in 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act 1990 to address grievances and safeguard women’s legal rights. The Commission plays an instrumental role in empowering women and uplifting their status in society. Get the details of the history of NCW as listed here.

  • A Committee on the Status of Women in India recommended setting up a National Commission for Women about 20 years ago that would work only in the dimensions of surveillance and facilitating the redressals of women’s grievances.
  • Later, many committees, plans, and commissions also recommended constituting a specific body for the Welfare of women between 1988 to 2000.
  • Keeping the constant urge of different commissions, including the national perspective plan for women, the union government in the 1990s consulted several social workers, NGOs, and other experts pertaining to the powers, structure, and function of the commission that needed to be set up.
  • Finally, a bill was presented in Lok Sabha in May 1990.
  • The same 1990 human resource development ministry held a national conference pertaining to the bill. In August 1990 the central government presented new provisions and amendments to waste the constituted Commission with powers equal to that of a Civil Court.
  • Finally, the bill was passed on 30th August 1990 and received assent from the President of India.
  • The commission was on 31st January 1992 and had Mrs. Jayanthi Patnaik as the first chairperson of the Commission. Rekha Sharma is the present chairperson of NCW.

Composition of National Commission for Women

Get the complete details of the composition of the National Commission for women as listed here. The composition of the NCW is aimed to address the grievances of the women and mitigate their hardships.

  • Chairperson appointed by the central government who can remain committed and dedicated to safeguarding women’s causes.
  • The central government nominates 5 members from the people who have already worked in fields related to legislation, trade unionism law, and management of female-oriented industry also, the people related to NGOs and social welfare can be part of it.
  • At least one member from the scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes are nominated by the central government and the membership secretary, who also belongs to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe, respectively.
  • A person who is experienced and an expert in management and knows about sociological movements.
  • An officer with appropriate experience is employed in a civil post under the union or an all-India service.

Tenure of members of NCW

The members of the National Commission for Women hold a tenure of 3 years or, as specified by the central government, a particular duration. The National Commission for Women ensures the safeguarding of the rights of women.

Removal of Members of NCW

The following are the grounds for the removal of the members of the National Commission for Women. A person may be removed from the position of chairperson or a member of the commission if they become undischarged insolvent. The other reasons for the removal of the member from NCW are-

  • The central government considered a crime morally repugnant if the offender is convicted and sentenced to prison.
  • If the member of the chairperson is declared mentally unstable by the full court.
  • The government can cancel the candidature of a member if he or she refuses to act according to guidelines or has lost the ability to act accordingly.
  • When a commission member misses 3 Commission meetings, he or she can be removed from the commission.
  • Considering if the chairperson or the member has been abusing their position in undue manners, the central government can outrightly reject their existence in the commission.
  • However, it is not permissible to remove an individual until he or she has been heard fairly in the concerned case.

Functions of National Commission for Women

It is the mission of the National Commission for Women to enable domestic women to achieve equality in living standards and participation in every sphere of life by securing their rights and entitlement through suitable policies. Also, it aims to reduce the problems arising from discrimination and violence against women.

  • The primary function of the commission is to set up inquiries and evaluate the issues related to the Constitution and laws related to women.
  • Bring in the cases related to discrimination and violation of women’s rights before the government and related authorities and take action against them.
  • To report to the central government on the effectiveness of safeguards operations.
  • To provide recommendations in such reports for enhancing the women’s conditions by the concerned state or the union.
  • To regularly report women’s issues, including all the obstacles they face at the domestic level or in the workplace, to the government.
  • Ensuring that the provisions in the constitution and laws for safeguarding women are reviewed and revised regularly. Also, to propose the legislation to address bridging gaps and deficiencies, if any.

Powers of NCW

It is a brownie point for the National Commission of Women as it enjoys powers equal to that of the Civil Court. It can take the oath of allegiance from any person from any part of India along with issuing the summon or enforcing its attendance. The powers of the NCW are listed here-

  • It ensures that all the documents are properly discovered and produced through the affidavits as a shred of evidence.
  • It can demand copies of public records from any Court or government office.
  • It can examine the witnesses and documents and the issuance of commissions.
  • It can consider the prescribed matters from the commission and the government.

Issues Related to National Women Commission

There are many issues that the National Commission for Women faces. Walk through the under-noted points to get in touch with the highlighted issues of the National Women Commission that have been enlisted here-

  • To meet the commission’s needs, it receives a minimal amount of financial assistance from the government.
  • Consequently, the National Commission for Women lacks the authority to choose its members because the government appoints them.
  • The National Commission for Women does not have legislative authority. Its traditional boundaries are limited to making decisions, providing suggestions, and creating reports.

National Commission for Women Chairperson

In fulfilling its objectives, the Commission initiated numerous steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment. The Commission completed its visits to all the States/UTs except Lakshadweep and prepared Gender Profiles to assess women’s status and empowerment. The Chairperson list of the Commission since its inception is given below:

NCW Chairperson Year
Jayanti Patnayak 1992
Mohini Giri 1995
Vivah Parthasarathy 1999
Purnima Advani 2002
Girjia Vyas 2005
Mamta Sharma 2011
Lalitha Kumaramangalam 2014
Rekha Sharma 2017

Latest News Regarding NCW

The National Women Commission has been taking up the headlines. Take a look at the latest happenings of the NCW.

  • A dairy industry training and capacity-building initiative have been established by the National Commission for Women.
  • Women working in dairy farming and adjacent industries are being identified and given training by NCW in the areas like quality enhancement, packaging, value addition, and marketing of dairy products.
  • The organizers of the first session were the Haryana state rural livelihood mission held at the Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Hisar on value-added dairy products.

National Commission for Women UPSC

National Commission for Women is an essential topic for the prelims and UPSC Mains. To prepare for this topic, one must be well aware of Current Affairs and recent happenings. Aspirants must remember that this topic might also be asked in the essay topics of IAS exam. The topic is also covered under GS Paper 2 Syllabus of the Mains examination.

The aspirants who are going to appear for the UPSC exam must refer to the syllabus to understand the exam pattern comprehensively. Aspirants should also practice UPSC Previous Year Question Paper and refer to other study materials.

NCW Sample Questions

Numerous questions are asked from the National Women Commission topic in the UPSC exam. The aspirants can refer to the previous year papers in the exam and get in touch with the pattern to be followed in the exam. Follow the statement below and choose the correct option.

Question: Which one of the following commissions is related to Act No 20 of Govt of India? [A] The National Commission for Scheduled Caste, [B] The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, [C] The National Commission for Women, [D] The National Commission for Backward Classes.

Answer: (Option C) The National Commission for Women

Question: Which cells have been established by the National Commission for Women? [A] North-East India Cell [B] Non-Resident Indians Cell [C] Women Safety Cell [D] Women Welfare Cell [E] Western India Cell.

Answer: (Options B, A, C, D) Non-Resident Indians Cell [NRI Cell], North East India Cell, Women Safety Cell, Women Welfare Cell

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