A pilot project was initiated under the National Mission for Empowerment of Women, a Government of India sponsored project, to identify, study and explore the socio-cultural practices and its implications of the devadasi system in North Karnataka .The geographical coverage of the project extends to 28 grampanchayats of Kustagi Taluk, Kopal District, Karnataka.
The four dimensions of the project are
1. Prevention – of the traditional socio-cultural practice of devadasi system.
2. Rehabilitation – focusing on Devadasi women and their children and overall socioeconomic conditions of the community.
3. Affirmative Action – focusing on issues such as education and employment, in addition to the existing provisions relating to devadasi women who have been historically exploited and excluded from the mainstream society.4. Liberation from Slavery – from the clutches of feudal and upper castes who continue to promote and support the dedication of devadasis.
This inter-connected approach defines “Social Justice” and has led to the following processes:
1. Formation of a collective of Devadasi women at the GP and taluk / project level.
2. Awareness on the Devadasi (Prohibition of Dedication) Act and Human Rights Act.
3. Educational interventions for children of Devadasi women including literacy and continuation of education.
4. Vocational training for skill development leading to the setting up of production units and establishment of a Multi-Purpose Cooperative society.
5. Development of agriculture Land.
6. Promotion of horticulture and milk production as alternative sources of livelihood.
A website - www.devadasi.in for dissemination of information on Devadasi women issues, activities carried out, progress made by the pilot project, etc. Incidents of violation of rights of women, information on the schemes for the rehabilitation of devadasi women and other schemes in general meant for SCs & STs have also been shared.