Government committed to ending female foeticide: Sonia

March 8th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
(Lead)

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday said that the government was committed to ending female foeticide at all costs and stressed that the policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) were “empowering women on all fronts”. “Female foeticide has to end under all circumstances. It is a serious offence. The government is committed to end this heinous practice,” Gandhi said here after giving away the Stree Shakti Puraskar awards to 15 women for their outstanding social service.

“The message emanating from the awards given to these brave women will inspire million others to join the ongoing fight against social evils and achieve the goal of women’s empowerment,” she said.

“The process of women’s empowerment is full of challenges, and we must carry on against all odds. Let us strive together to create a society where no foeticide takes place, and where not a single child is illiterate,” Sonia said.

“The policies of the UPA government are empowering women on all fronts. Over one million women are now in panchayats, the dream of Rajiv Gandhi (late former prime minister), who was so concerned for women’s empowerment.

“Women are reaping the benefits of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). There are several other initiatives of the UPA government aimed at the financial and social empowerment of our women.”

Gandhi gave away the awards along with Gursharan Kaur, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife.

Triveni Balkrishna Acharya, Rani Bang from Maharashtra, and Vanguri Suvartha from Andhra Pradesh got the Jhansi Ki Rani Lakshmi Bai Stree Shakti Puraskar for courage, while Pinki Virani of Delhi, Shaik Shamshad Begum of Andhra Pradesh, and Kalpana Sarkar of Madhya Pradesh got the Kannagi Stree Shakti Purskar for uplifting women in distress.

The other awardees were Manmohani Debnath from Tripura, Selmin Lyngdoh from Meghalaya and Senu Tsuhah from Nagaland, who received the Rani Gaidinliy Zeliang award for upliftment of women in tribal areas. Kavita Srivastava from Rajasthan, Neeta Bahadur of Uttar Pradesh and D. Shanthi of Tamil Nadu were awarded the Devi Ahilya Bai Stree Puraskar for administrative skills.

Chattisgarh’s Shamshad Begum, Sandhya Raman of Delhi and Nighat Shafi Pandit got the Mata Jijabai Stree Shakti Puraskar in recognition of their spirit of motherhood. The awards were given for 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Gandhi also praised Manmohan Singh for waiving off farmers’ loans to the tune of Rs.600 billion, saying the decision will bring smiles to the faces of the beneficiaries.

“If a farmer commits suicide, the entire family is destroyed and it is the women who suffer most. Therefore, I thank and express gratitude to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the relief given to 40 million farmers,” she said.

Renuka Chowdhury, minister of state for women and child development, praised Gandhi for her role in women’s empowerment.

“Over 10 lakh (1 million) female foeticides take place in the country every year, which is a serious sin. It is heartening to say that Sonia Gandhi has always stood by us for women’s empowerment,” said Chowdhury, whose ministry organised the event.

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