Women hold key to holistic growth of society: Omar

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JAMMU-Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Friday highlighted the significant importance of women in the development and growth of human society and added that unless women are equal beneficiary of progress it can be termed as lopsided.

            Speaking to a large gathering of women on International Women’s Day organised under the aegis of National Conference by MLA Bimla Luthra at Sher-i-Kashmir Bhavan here, Omar Abdullah said that in fact everyday of the year should be dedicated to women and their welfare should be focused attention always.

            “It is being observed that we care for women’s welfare when some grave injustice is committed against them. We think of making laws for stringent punishment to the wrong doers and violators of women dignity when some incident of that nature comes to light. But the focus gradually diminishes with the passage of time”, he said and vehemently emphasized the need for making the dignity, respect and protection of women above all inculcating a mindset of ensuring justice and protection to them under all circumstances.

            The Chief Minister said that certain people also play politics on the sufferings of women and try to utilize these for their vested interests. He cited the example of a girl who received serious injuries in an acid throwing accident in the Valley and the leaders of the single largest opposition party in the Legislative Assembly (PDP) came out in press announcing treatment and its cost for the girl at New Delhi. “A doctor of the party (PDP) was on forefront in announcing the treatment and its cost”, he said adding that at the end of the day the bill of Rs. 8 lakh for the treatment of the girl at New Delhi hospital was paid by the government silently. “I am making this reference only to drive home how some quarters utilize these incidents for pity politics”, he maintained.

            Asking women to be champions of their own cause and strive with courage to get respectable and deserving place in the society, the Chief Minister told them to became their own voice to get due shares in all spheres of life. “You have to become your own voice and work for the comprehensive development of women folk in the country”, he emphasized.

            The Chief Minister gave details of the initiatives his government has taken to safeguard the interests of women and give them justice. He said before the Centre Government initiated action on Justice Verma Commission Report, “I asked the concerned department in the State to study the recommendations of the Commission and work out roadmap for incorporating these in J&K Laws to make women safer and protected besides ensuring severe punishment against those responsible for cruelty and crime against women.

            Omar Abdullah said that 33 per cent reservation of women in Panchayats has clearly indicated government’s vision and determination to empower women at grass roots and expand their role in the holistic development of the society. He asked the women panchayat members to exercise their powers by themselves conferred by the government and not to allow its proxy use by others even if they may be their family members. “People have given votes to you. They have authorized you to take decisions and get involved in the development process”, he said urging the women panchayat members to exercise powers by themselves.

            Omar Abdullah said that in the next year’s Budget his government has provided over Rs. 21 crores to clear all the old age and widow pension cases in the State besides making funds available for providing Rs. 30,000 each to the BPL orphan girls for bearing expenses on marriages. He also referred to other concessions and schemes under implementation in the social welfare sector in the State to ensure development of woman and girl child.

            Underlining education as an important tool to enhance the capacity of women making them capable of rendering invaluable services to the society in all fields of life, the Chief Minister stressed upon women to ensure education of girl child all across the State. He said there are schemes in force which provide for benefits to girl child for continuation of education. He asked them to take full advantage of these schemes and other concessions.

            Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo underlined the need for 33 per cent reservation of women in Parliament and urged the Union Government and UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi to play their important role in this regard.

            She referred the services rendered by Madr-e-Meherban and Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in the development of and education of girl child in the State. She also gave resume of the projects and schemes launched in the State for women empowerment and their comprehensive development.

            MLA and senior leader of National Conference Bimla Luthra in her speech said that holistic development of women, their empowerment and girl education has also remained focal point of National Conference’s political and development agenda.

            The function was also attended by Provincial President Women’s Wing, Vijay Laxmi Dutta and various other senior leaders.

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