Dr. Avnish Jolly,Chandigarh, 23rd October, 2008 :Strongly advocating the need for action-oriented approach for promoting Gender Equality and improvement in Child Sex Ratio, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen. (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, PVSM VSM, today called for a crusade against the unethical practice of female foeticide, through the vigorous implementation of action plans at the ground level and by making it a mass movement, with the active involvement of the people.
Inaugurating a Regional Conference on Health, Population and Social Development in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab with a focus on Child Sex Ratio, here today, General Rodrigues said that there is a need of strengthening our monitoring systems to identify the gaps in the implementation processes in this social societal endeavour, followed by corrective measures. We have to create a situation of developing the sense of "us" and shedding the approach "we" and "they" in dealing with this issue of vital social importance to achieve the desired goals.
Expressing his anguish over the lackadaisical of our systems and of our society, towards the social evil of female infanticide, General Rodrigues lamented that the efforts made so far in this programme have not turned into a mass movement and merely remained an academic exercise on paper. There is strong need for reinventing our attitudes and reinforcing our value system to tackle these ills, which are eroding our morality and the social system. He stressed that the need of the hour is, therefore, to activate our conscience and reorient our systems to reach out to every village and town, to educate public opinion. We have also to strengthen our network for empowerment of women and make them self-reliant with active community support.
Referring to the measures being taken for social development, General Rodrigues said that various programmes impacting our social system have been launched in the Union Territory of Chandigarh with benefit to the whole region. He said that special focus has been given on the inculcation of proper values, so as to make our children good citizens. We have started a novel programme "Focus: Moral Values & Civic Duties in Education’ in all the 110 schools of Union Territory. He said that it has three major elements relating to basic human values, with the focus on a personal value system, the inculcation of a sense of responsibility towards society and our duty to the State and the nation. He referred to the philosophy of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan institutions, which aim to promote our rich heritage and human values and educate our students to the needs of our country. Besides this, as part of upliftment plan of the poor strata, the Chandigarh Administration is implementing an ambitious plan for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers under which 25000 one room tenements are being constructed with all modern facilities to be given them on nominal rent.
General Rodrigues appealed to the members of the Population Foundation of India (PFI) to participate in all these programmes having relevance in the Social Development, Health and Population and incorporate them into national programmes, for the benefit of the people of the Country. He also released a booklet and a wall poster on the relevant theme of the Conference on the occasion.
Mr. B.G. Deshmukh , former Cabinet Secretary Government of India and Vice Chairman of the governing body of Population Foundation of India, while speaking on the occasion highlighted the goals of the national body on family planning, reproductive health and other development issues. He said that the foundation has organized various State Level Conferences as part of its advocacy programmes in different States and helping them in framing their population polices and programmes.
Mr.A.R. Nanda, Executive Director, PFI, welcomed the Guests and Mr. B.G. Verghese, Member Governing Body, PFI proposed vote of thanks.