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Land Ports to be gender friendly, inclusive in next 3 years : LPAI Chairman

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NEW DELHI : Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) Chairman Aditya Mishra on Tuesday conveyed the vision of his department to make land ports also known as Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) “gender friendly, neutral and inclusive in the next three years”.

Mishra made the statement while releasing the LPAI’s report titled “Engendering Land Ports in India.” The report brings to light the findings of the application of the gender audit toolkit and gender assessment undertaken at three select land ports in India– ICP Agartala, ICP Petrapole and ICP Raxual.

The report sheds light on the importance of improving gender responsiveness of land ports, a crucial initiative of the Government of India as part of efforts towards improved infrastructure facilities and policy reforms for promoting cross-border trade in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Northeast India and Nepal (BBIN) region.

LPAI, a statutory body working under the Ministry of Home Affairs, in its report, has also mentioned its vision, pointing out that it has set a target to make all land ports gender friendly in the coming three years.

“As part of this, the LPAI had organised a webinar on gender mainstreaming in ICPs, which recommended among other needs for a study of ICPs in India from the standpoint of gender mainstreaming,” the LPAI said.

The study aimed “to develop a framework for gender-inclusive cross-border trade and tourism through land ports in India.”

The focus of the study was to map the existing infrastructure and services at select land ports to understand the gaps in promoting women’s participation in cross-border trade and tourism.

The key purpose was to recommend specific action areas and initiatives, within the purview of LPAI, that can be undertaken to make the land ports gender responsive.

Keeping this in mind, the study covered objectives such as understanding the challenges and barriers to women’s participation in cross-border land port-based trade and tourism in India; mapping the existing infrastructure and service-related gaps for making the land ports gender-responsive, recommending specific infrastructure and capacity building measures to be undertaken in short term to make land ports gender-responsive; and identify policy measures for making the land port based cross-border trade and tourism eco-system more women-friendly.

The key findings from the study show that two of the three land ports–ICP Agartala and ICP Petrapole–with gender audit scores of 0.59 and 0.55 have been assessed as satisfying the minimum requirements of gender responsiveness. ICP Raxual, with a lower score of 0.39, can only be considered to be approaching the minimum requirements.

“The best performance of all land ports is towards ensuring full accessibility. All three land ports, ICP Agartala, ICP Petrapole and ICP Raxual, satisfy the minimum requirements towards this component with scores of 0.69, 0.60 and 0.46 respectively. Agartala can be considered to be considerably gender responsive on this parameter,” the report findings mention.

“Another important component for improved gender responsiveness is client servicing. Petrapole satisfies the minimum requirements on this parameter with a score of 0.47. However, Agartala and Raxual fall short with scores of 0.27 and 0.20 respectively,” it added.

All three land ports fell short of satisfying the minimum standards for gender responsiveness within the institutional mechanism, the report pointed out.

“It is important for LPAI to take a more proactive stance in terms of institutional gender mainstreaming. In terms of the external environment, not much difference was observed within the three land ports, although ICP Agartala being a state capital, naturally scored high on the same,” the report said.

“While an external audit is critical to understand the status of the land ports in terms of achieving gender responsiveness, it is equally important to assess the user satisfaction levels. A key finding of the study has been that in the eyes of the women users of the land ports–passengers, traders and staff–the land ports stand high on satisfaction levels,” added the findings of the report.

Around 71 per cent of the women surveyed reported satisfaction with the facilities at the land ports, with 23 per cent being adequately satisfied and only 6 per cent reporting as not being satisfied, the report findings further state.

“Most of those not reporting satisfaction were elderly passengers, pregnant women and women with young children. This highlights the need to focus not only on women in general but also on addressing the needs of this specific category of women. Around 78.7 per cent of the women surveyed reported that the staff were very supportive or responsive. In terms of safety, all the women surveyed reported feeling almost or very safe,” the report said in its findings.

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