National Commission for Women


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Mains: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.


What is the National Commission for Women?

The National Commission for Women (NCW) is an autonomous and statutory body established in 1992  under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, to protect and promote women's rights in India. 

  • It is responsible for reviewing and addressing issues related to the rights of women and for making recommendations for the protection and promotion of these rights.


What is the composition of NCW?

As per Section 3 of the National Commission for Women Act 1990, the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, 5 Members, and a Member-Secretary who are nominated by the Central Government




Committed to the cause of women

5 Members

Amongst persons of ability, integrity, and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, women's voluntary organizations, administration, health, education, etc. 

Note: At least one Member shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, respectively.


An expert in the field of management, organizational structure, or sociological movement (or) an officer who is a member of a civil service of the Union or of an all-India service or holds a civil post under the Union with appropriate experience.


  • Term: The Chairperson and every Member shall hold office for a period of three years.
  • Removal: The Central Government may by order remove the Chairperson or any other Member from office if the Chairperson or any other member:
    • Is adjudged insolvent.
    • Engages during his term of office in any paid employment outside the duties of his office.
    • Refuses to act or becomes incapable of acting.
    • Is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court.
    • Has so abused his office as to render his continuance in office detrimental to the public interest.
    • Is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offense which in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude.

Note: No person shall be removed until that person has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.


What are the various functions and responsibilities of NCW?

As per Section 10 of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, The commission shall perform all or any of the following functions: 

  • Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws.
  • Present to the Central Government annually reports upon the working of these  safeguards.
  • Make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for improving the conditions of women by the union or any state.
  • Review the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies, or shortcomings in such legislations.
  • Take up cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities.
  • Look into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to the deprivation of women's rights and non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women.
  • Undertake promotional and educational research.
  • Participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of women.


What are the powers of NCW?

The Commission, while investigating, shall have all the powers of a civil court in respect of the following matters:

  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him/her on oath.
  • Requiring the discovery and production of any document.
  • Receiving evidence on affidavits.
  • Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.
  • Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents.


What are various initiatives undertaken by NCW to carry out its mandate?

In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment.

  • The Commission completed its visits to all the States/UTs and prepared ‘Gender Profiles’ to assess the status of women and their empowerment. 
  • It received a large number of complaints and acted suo-moto in several cases to provide speedy justice. 
  • It took up the issue of child marriage and sponsored legal awareness. programmes, Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats, and reviewed laws such as Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, PNDT Act 1994, Indian Penal Code 1860, and the National Commission for Women Act 1990 to make them more stringent and effective.
  • The Commission has proposed amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, and the Indian Penal Code 1960, etc. 
  • It organized workshops, constituted expert committees on economic empowerment of women, conducted seminars for gender awareness, and took up publicity campaigns against female foeticide, violence against women.
  • NCW has recently established a "J&K and Ladakh Cell" to address women's complaints and promote their development in all areas within these newly-formed UTs, due to the unique challenges faced by women there.


What are the challenges faced by NCW?

The National Commission for Women (NCW) faces a number of challenges in its efforts to protect and promote the rights of women in India. Some of them include:

  • Limited legal power: The NCW's authority is mainly recommendatory in nature, and it does not have the power to enforce its recommendations or take legal action against violators. 
  • Lack of resources: The NCW often faces a shortage of staff and resources, which hinders its ability to carry out its mandate effectively. 
    • A report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs noted that the NCW has a shortage of staff and needs additional resources to effectively address women's issues.
  • Inadequate representation: The NCW has been criticized for inadequate representation of marginalized women, including those from lower castes, tribes, and religious minorities. 
    • A study by the Centre for Social Research found that the NCW lacks representation from these groups and needs to be more inclusive in its approach.
  • Limited outreach: The NCW's outreach efforts are often limited, and it may not be able to effectively reach out to women in remote areas or those who are illiterate. 


What measures could be recommended for the effective functioning of the commission?

 Some recommendations for the effective functioning of the National Commission for Women (NCW):

  • Increasing awareness: The NCW could deploy resources at the district level to bring attention to local atrocities and raise awareness about the NCW.
  • Strengthening the legal powers: To enhance the NCW's ability to effectively address issues related to the rights of women and to strengthen the laws for the safety of women in the workplace, it would be beneficial to give the NCW more legal powers.
    • The 257th report of the Law Commission of India recommended that the NCW be given greater powers to take action against violators of women's rights.
  • Increasing the funding: To ensure the NCW has the resources it needs to effectively carry out its mandate, it would be helpful for the central government to devolve more funds to the NCW and to give it an independent budget.
  • Outreach to remote areas: The NCW needs to have effective outreach mechanisms to reach women in remote areas or those who are illiterate. 
    • The Human Rights Watch has recommended that the NCW work to improve its outreach efforts and ensure it reaches women needing assistance.
  • Education and empowerment: The NCW should educate women about their rights and empower them to make informed decisions regarding their lives. It should establish self-development centers and encourage women's participation in small-scale work to promote empowerment and independence.




Previous Year Questions



Q) Which steps are required for constitutionalization of a commission? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the national commission for women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India? Give reasons. (2020)


Q) Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. (2017)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q) Under which law are the State Commissions for Women established in India?

The State Commissions for Women are constituted through the respective state laws enacted by their state legislature. For example, Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission is constituted under The Andhra Pradesh Women's Commission Act, 1998.


Q) What is the mission of the National Commission for Women? 

The mission of the commission is to: 

  • Strive towards enabling women to achieve equality and equal participation in all spheres of life. 
  • Secure due rights and entitlements through suitable policy formulation, legislative measures, effective enforcement of laws, implementation of schemes,etc. 
  • Devise strategies for the solution of specific problems arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women.