President Patil meets children, women activists

July 24th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) For over 100 children who came from orphanages and disadvantaged backgrounds, it was a most exiting event - after all President Pratibha Patil was the one seated beside them, chatting with them and also sharing lunch with them. On the eve of completing a year in office, the president was eager to host children from disadvantaged backgrounds and to let them see the grand and majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, the sprawling and famed Mughal Garden and some sections of the 340-room presidential palace.

Patil interacted with the children Thursday, answering their curious but interesting questions. She laid specific emphasis on the importance of education as the key to development and also on good moral values.

Later, the president joined the children in the banquet hall, where state banquets are hosted in honour of the visiting heads of states, for a sumptuous lunch.

The children were from NGOs like Bal Vikas Vidyalaya, Bachchon Ka Ghar, Arya Orphanage, Nehru Bal Samiti and Literacy India.

The children were treated to butter chicken, Goan fish curry, paneer pasanda, gobhi kajoo, moong dal and peas pulao and desert of gulab jamun and mango ice-cream.

Also for the first time, the president met a group of eminent women, including educationist Amita Singh, former chief justice of Himachal Pradesh Leela Seth, scientist Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, MP and scholar Kapila Vatsyanan, women activists Ranjana Kumari and Mohini Giri and social worker Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee.

Patil expressed concern that excellent human resources were being lost as some women leave their careers due to family commitments. The president said a solution should be found to make such women pursue their careers without having to sacrifice their family duties.

The other topics that came up for discussion during the meeting were a policy on war widows, free education for children affected by insurgency in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, and education for girls.

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