Declaring women empowerment as one of the top agendas of the state government, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said the women have huge stakes in the peace process as they are the first casualty of any trauma or violence. The Chief Minister spoke at two separate functions at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar and Dak Bungalow Baramulla while launching ‘Empowering the Girl Child’ scheme.
The Chief Minister handed over keys of scooters to 300 girl students of Government Colleges for Women MA Road and Nawa Kadal College in Srinagar and 150 students of Government Women’s College Baramulla. Under the scheme, the government provides subsidy on scooters for meritorious girl students.
“Women have huge stakes in peace as they are the first casualty of any trauma or violence. Also, the brunt of the societal losses is borne more by the women than the men. In our world which is full of chaos, investments must be made to empower women.
If you empower a girl or a woman, you are empowering the entire nation,” Mehbooba said.
Mehbooba said the scheme is part of an endeavour of the State Government to empower the girl child and to facilitate her independent mobility.
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“Under the scheme, the state government will facilitate 50 per cent sponsorship of the cost of scooty for college going girls in the State. These vehicles will enable girl’s independence of mobility and at the same time promote confidence in them,” she said.
The Chief Minister reiterated her government’s commitment is to work for the safety, development and empowerment of the womenfolk and added that this scheme will not only help girls in commuting but will also bring in her courage, self confidence and a feeling of self dependence.
She said the scheme was supposed to be launched in the Kashmir valley in the month of July, however due to the situation in the Valley it was delayed.
Referring to the education sector, the Chief Minister said it has suffered the most during the recent turmoil.
“While people who can afford shall manage the education of their children outside the state, however, the students from poor families have suffered massive academic loss. Even those who can afford also think twice in case of female child, who ultimately suffers again,” she said.
The Chief Minister also announced an All-Terrain Mountain Bike (ATMB) scheme for meritorious boys on the pattern of Scooty Scheme for girl students.
She said under the scheme, any boy in the 10th standard belonging to lower economic background who has to cover a distance of more than 2 kilometres from his home to school and shall secure above 58 per cent in his class 10 exams would be eligible for a mountain bicycle if he gives in writing that he shall continue to pursue his education.
“Islam gives enormous rights to women but certain vested interests distort the real message to suit their politics. If we want peace and stability, women should also have stakes in our social and political processes. Looking after parents is not the job of sons only in the same way as cooking is for women,” she said.