Women at grassroots levels are fighting their own political battles, says Smriti Irani

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Updated: October 01, 2021 11:39 AM

Commending the government's schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Smriti Irani said that the program has become so popular that it has seen immense community participation related to it.

Commending the government's schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Smriti Irani said that the program has become so popular that it has seen immense community participation related to it.

India ranks 148th in a list of 193 countries based on the percentage of elected women representatives in the national parliament, however, women at grassroots levels are fighting their own political battles and coming out with flying colours, stated Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani at the virtual session – ‘Empowering Women in Building Resilient India’ at the 116th Annual Session organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Speaking at the event, Smriti Irani stated that the issue of women’s emancipation need not be addressed by women alone and that men, too, need to contribute to it. She added that the country would witness holistic growth and behavioural changes when men stand with women.

Smriti Irani informed that the government seeks industry support to ensure that the Legislative Acts passed with regards to women are, at least, followed by the members of the industry. It needs to be practised in letter, where for equal work there should be equal pay, she said. Further to this, she also added that women in India need to be given the joy of equal participation based on their competence. She said that some two to three years ago the highest amount of female fortitude was seen in the progressive and empowered South Mumbai area, but that has all changed now.

Commending the government’s schemes like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, she said that the program has become so popular that it has seen immense community participation related to it. Today, no doctor is allowed to identify the sex of a child, she added.

Quoting a 2012 World Bank report, she said that it stated India lost 6% of its GDP due to sanitation, because toilet was never a part of political conversation. The honourable Union Minister informed that initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ensured that 10 crore families had access to their own toilet, and all this was possible due to the efforts made by a male Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

She also revealed that on the issue of menstrual hygiene, for the first time it was ensured that there was an administrative protocol for disposal of menstrual products. Also, for the first time through the Swamitva Yojana, the government used drone technology to ascertain digital land records. Through PMG Disha, 2 crore women were made digitally literate, she added. 

Ms Anuradha Goel, Chairperson, PHD Family Welfare Foundation (PHDFWF) spoke on the meaningful work done by the foundation over the period of last 35 years.

She informed that the foundation has been running skill development programs in North India where skill sets such as computer repair, electrician, tailoring is taught to the people in a holistic manner.

She added that regular yoga classes in the resettlement areas are being organised.  More than 30000 women have been trained and have become an integral earning power of their family, she said.

Ms Goel also informed that in the last 2 years family welfare foundation has been taking care of 3000 abandoned orphan children, many of whom were orphaned due to COVID pandemic.

She added that the foundation also operated six mobile medical vans during the Pandemic. 12 oxygen plants were also donated to needy hospital across the NCR and the donation for these plants were by managing by the contribution of the committee members itself.

Also, she highlighted the unique initiative undertaken for 60 identified women, who have lost their sole earning member during the pandemic time.

Shri Sanjay Aggarwal, President, PHDCCI stated that women empowerment is essential for realising the power of demographic dividend of the country and making it a catalyst for enhancing economic resilience.

He said that with the emerging digitalization, education, modernization, globalization and urbanization, women are seeking gainful participation in several fields.

Shri Aggarwal added that India’s story on women empowerment is not complete without focusing on grassroots initiatives adopted by the Government. Ministry of Women and Child Development have undertaken several major policies and programmes for promoting social and economic empowerment of women such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, One Stop Centre, Ujjawala, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojna, and many more, he added.

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