Kochi: The southern state of Kerala is actively involved in a campaign to bring about gender equality in the state.
The Government of Kerala has initiated an awareness program called the "Smart Kitchen Programme" so as to ensure gender equality. Practical classes for cooking and cleaning will be conducted for men and boys by the Women and Child Welfare Department.
The idea is to instil the notion that both men and women should hold equal responsibility for doing household work. "Participatory cooking, interesting cooking" will be the motto of the class and those who have performed exceedingly well will be awarded prizes. The classes will be held through the Victers channel.
The authorities have also decided to provide interest-free loans to buy household utensils. It will be jointly allocated in the name of husband and wife and an amount of Rs. 5 crores has been kept exclusively in the state budget for this project.
Although the Woman and Child Welfare Department are in charge of the implementation of this project, a committee chaired by the Chief Secretary will coordinate the work. The members of this coordinating committee will comprise the representatives of various departments.
After this committee approves the draft action plan with various amendments (if any), the State Government will have the final say and issue final orders regarding the project.
The action plan aims to enable economically backward families to purchase domestic utensils through the granting of interest-free loans by Kerala State Financial Enterprise. It also includes the supply of free LNG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) to financially vulnerable families along with the opening of community kitchens in tribal colonies where both men and women would be involved.
It also aims to update the curriculum at the school and college level and insert topics pertaining to gender equality and various cooking methods. In order to ensure the availability of products used for cooking, local counters by Kudumbashree units will be opened.