Nari Shakti Vandan Act is “gamechanger” for women-led development: Om Birla

New Delhi, Jan 5 (UNI) Describing as a “game-changer” the recently passed Nari Shakti Vandan Act that reserves one-third of the total seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures for women, LS Speaker Om Birla on Friday said India is moving from women’s participation in development to women-led development.

Birla highlighted that the Act will prove to be a “game-changer” in bringing women to leadership roles in the decision-making process.

Inaugurating an awareness programme ‘Panchayat Se Parliament Tak’ for Women Representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies in Parliament House here, Birla noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government passed the historic Act in the very first session of the new Parliament building.

Whereas the distance between the objectives of the Constitution and current realities on gender equality is yet to be completely bridged, the recent initiatives of the government have provided equal opportunities to women to bring them into the mainstream in political, economic and social life, he said.

Mentioning India’s glorious economic journey, Birla said the country is setting the agenda for the world. Indian women and youth are playing an important role in the economic development of other countries.

He further stressed that making the villages self-reliant will accelerate the pace of economic development of the country, and said the Prime Minister is realising Mahatma Gandhi’s vision for rural development.

Speaking on women development, the Speaker noted that women are at the forefront of development in various fields. “However, we need to bridge the gap so that the current pace of development is accelerated,” he said.

Without gender equality, it will be difficult to achieve the current challenges of poverty alleviation, economic growth, sustainable development and environmental protection, he added.

“Panchayats have been given the responsibility of formulating and implementing plans for economic development and social justice,” he said noting that they have an important role in the effective and efficient implementation of flagship programs for the rejuvenation of rural India.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a strong Panchayat to build a self-reliant village. The stronger the Panchayat system is, the more powerful each person under it will be and only then will the foundation of the democracy be strengthened, he further asserted.

Emphasising that as public representatives, women sarpanchs’ role is to strengthen democracy and give shape to the hopes and aspirations of rural people, he said panchayats should set their priorities, formulate their own plans and implement them with the participation of villagers and their elected representatives and leaders.

“Since ancient times, democracy has been in our thinking, ideology and thinking style. It has been our culture to make decisions through collective discussion and dialogue. Amidst the diversities, democracy binds us together, Birla said.

Later, the Speaker also interacted with the women representatives. More than 500 women representatives from Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies from diverse backgrounds from different States attended the programme.

This awareness programme for women representatives of Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies was organized by ICPS in coordination with the National Commission for Women with the objective to empower and support women grassroots leaders.

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