Panipat, January 14-President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil today expressed her concern over the decline in sex ratio in the country adding that sex ratio between the age group of 0 to six years was the lowest after freedom of the country, but she lauded the leadership of Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda and State Government’s initiatives for women empowerment,which have resulted in improvement of sex ratio in Haryana. Mrs. Patil was addressing an international symposium on women and child empowerment at Hali Park in Panipat today. The symposium was organized to mark the 175th birth anniversary of noted poet and social reformer Maulana Khawaja Altaf Hussain ‘Hali Panipati’.
Mrs Patil said that the statistics of Census 2011 were shocking as far as sex ratio was concerned. In the age group of 0 to six years, there were 914 girls per thousand boys and this being the lowest after freedom of the country was an issue of concern.After the statistics of Census 2001, the figures of Census 2011 indicate tha t there had been an improvement in sex ratio in Haryana.
Deviating from her written speech distributed on the occasion, Mrs. Patil said that she was happy to learn about various schemes and programmes implemented by the Haryana Government for empowerment of women in the fields of education, health and social welfare. “The Chief Minister deserves appreciation for the same”, she added. She expressed satisfaction that sex ratio has improved in the State in the last few years. She said that according to the census figures of the year 2011, the sex ratio has shown considerable improvement and it was the result of schemes being run by the Haryana Government to keep a check on female foeticide.
Describing the female foeticide as a heinous crime, Mrs. Patil said that every person should come forward to eradicate this social evil and ensure equal status for women in all sphere of life. She urged the social workers and Non Government Organizations to work for the empowerment of women to ensure overall development of the society. The President said that undoubtedly, when the need of reforms in any system arises, the perspective of the Indian society always remained progressive and also showed courage and intellect. She said that there was a need to generate awareness in the society and for this purpose we must have to bring about a change in the perception of people of both urban and rural areas. Mrs. Patil said that she herself has taken an initiative as per which the brave girls who have set an individual example against social evils were invited to the President House. She urged the people to encourage such girls.
Terming literacy, better health services, education, nutritious food for mother and infant and self employment as the prime source of women empowerment, she said that significant efforts have been made in this direction during the last two decades. Union Government has constituted Women Empowerment Mission which would prove more beneficial in achieving this objective. Various women and self help groups were successfully working in the country. She also praised the Hali Panipati Trust for its various activities being carried out in the field of women empowerment. The President asserted that the social development of any Nation could be assessed by the condition in which the women were living. While emphasizing the importance of higher education and training in skill development for women, she said that this would infuse in them more confidence and self esteem.
Mrs. Patil also highlighted the contribution made by Maulana Hali for girls’ education and women empowerment. Addressing the Symposium, Mr. Hooda praised the efforts made by noted poet Hali in empowering the women and said that Mr. Hali raised his voice when the condition of women was deteriorated. He said that besides witnessing three historical wars, the land of Panipat had also been the stronghold of poets, sufi-saints and ‘paigamber’ and this tradition continued upto the time of Maulana Altaf Husain Hali. Hali gave the message of love, brotherhood and unity through his poems, Mr. Hooda added. The Chief Minister said that women have always been accorded a high place in the Indian culture since ancient times and whenever they got a chance they have showed indomitable courage and intelligence. The women like Aruna Asif Ali, Kasturba Gandhi, Sucheta Kripalani, Kamla Nehru,Durga Bhabi and Sarojini Naidu also contributed significantly in the freedom struggle.
Mr. Hooda said that former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi led the country for a long period and provided a strong economical and political base to the nation. The Union Government under the able guidance of UPA President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has taken various steps towards women empowerment. It was a matter of pride that Mrs. Patil is the first women President of India, the largest democracy in the world. Listing the steps taken by the State Government towards women empowerment, Mr. Hooda said that the State has laid special emphasis on the welfare of women. Bhagat Phool Singh Women University has been set up at Khanpur Kalan in district Sonipat and a Medical College has also been established in the university. Apart from this, incentives like free education, text books, scholarships, reservation in admission, five per cent subsidy on loan for higher education, 33 per cent reservation in recruitment of teachers and allotment of houses of Housing Board, 10 paisa per unit rebate on domestic electricity connection, two per cent rebate on stamp duty were being provided by the State Government. In addition, Rajiv Gandhi SABLA scheme for empowerment of adolescent girls has been implemented in six districts namely Hisar, Ambala, Rewari, Rohtak, Yamunanagar and Kaithal. Haryana State Woman Empowerment Mission had also been constituted.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the various welfare schemes which were being implemented by the state government for empowerment of woman and girls in the state. He urged to enlighten the people against the social evils prevailing in the society. He also announced a discretionary grant of Rs.10 lakh for the Hali Panipati Trust.
Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Governor Mr. Jagannath Pahadia termed Hali as a great poet who raised his voice against the social evils like female foeticide, child marriage and dowry. He said that Hali was the first poet who advocated for women reforms. He also appreciated the style of functioning of Chief Minister Mr. Hooda and said that other states were also following the policies of Haryana.
On this occasion, President Hali Panipati Trust Mr. Arun Bhatnagar, the great grand daughter of Hali and Member of Planning Commission Dr. Saida Hamid also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Hooda released three books on Hali entitled as ‘Yuvaon Ke Hali’, ‘Bachhon Ke Hali and Lamhon Ka Aaina. He presented a set of these books to the President. Governor of Tripura Mr. D.Y. Patil, husband of the President Dr. Devi Singh Shekhawat, Member of Parliament Dr. Arvind Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr. Chhatar Singh, Political Advisor to Chief Minister Prof. Virender, MLAs namely Mr Balbir Pal Shah, Mr Om Parkash Jain,Mr Dharam Singh Chokkar and number of senior officers and dignitaries were also present on the occasion.