President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the Rio Olympic results and the induction of women in combat roles in the armed forces are shining examples of what a nation can achieve if women are fully empowered as he emphasised that the government wants to make “nari shakti” an integral part of the country’s development. The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme that addresses the issue of declining child sex ratio is yielding encouraging results and over Rs 11,000 crore have been deposited in over one crore accounts under Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, launched with an objective of ensuring a secure future to girl child.
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“Government is making ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power) an integral part of our development journey. Our women deserve equal opportunity. The Rio Olympics, where we took great pride in the performance of P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Deepa Karmakar and others, illustrates the strength of our women,” he said.
Sindhu and Malik won silver and bronze in badminton and wrestling respectively, while Karmakar impressed everyone with her performance in gymnastics.
“Women are being inducted in combat streams of our Armed Forces. The nation is proud of its first three women fighter pilots. This reminds us of what we can achieve, as a nation, if women are fully empowered, and if their skills and talent are optimally utilised,” Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee said the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan will provide comprehensive antenatal care by a qualified medical practitioner to all pregnant women.
“The revision of Maternity Benefit Act and enhancement of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 26 weeks will support pregnant women at the workplace,” he said.