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Odisha: Status of women in society is a major cause of concern, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

 

Monday June 09, 2014

ODISHA, GENDER DISCRIMINATION, PNDT ACT, FOETICIDE  
 

"Addressing to the District Collectors of Odisha in the colloquium for District Collectors on strengthening implementation of PC & PNDT Act to maintain a balance in male female ration, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his concern over declining ratio of female in the society saying that the patriarchal social framework and a value system based on preference for a son have resulted in discrimination and neglect of the girl child. He, however, mentioned that Odisha government has accorded high priority in ensuring gender equity in education, political participation as well as in economic and employment opportunities.”

 

Speech of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (Full Text)

 
 

"I am glad to be here today to attend the orientation programme on ‘Declining Child Sex Ratio’ organized by the Odisha State Legal Services Authority.  I thank the Legal Services Authority for focusing on an issue which is a major concern across all the states in India.

The patriarchal social framework and a value system based on preference for a son have resulted in discrimination and neglect of the girl child. Further, proliferation and abuse of advanced technologies coupled with social factors such as dowry, concerns with family name and looking upto the son as a bread winner has led to an alarming rise in the practice of female foeticide. The practice of sex selection is artificially altering the demographic landscape in our country.  The imbalance in the child sex ratio has implications not only for gender justice and gender inequality, but will also result in social violence, thereby impacting human development.

 

The status of women in society is a major cause of concern that influences biases against women.  The state has accorded high priority in ensuring gender equity in education, political participation as well as in economic and employment opportunities.  Several definitive measures have been taken by the State Government in order to improve the status of women in society.  Initiatives like 50 percent reservation to women in Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies, 33 percent reservation in Government jobs, and special incentives to girls for taking up education are some of our progressive steps for furthering the status of women. The female literacy has increased by 26 percent between 2001 and 2011 which in itself is remarkable. The number of out-of-school girls which was 2.61 lakh in 2006-07, has reduced to 35 thousand in 2010-11. For the past nine years, on an average, more than one thousand schools were added per year at both primary and upper primary levels. The Mission Shakti programme has been a major success in rural Odisha in the socio-economic empowerment of women.  But now, there is an urgent need to work towards ensuring inclusive and equitable development.

I would like to congratulate the Odisha State Legal Services Authority, the Health and Family Welfare Department of the State Government and the United Nations Population Fund for jointly organizing a sensitization program for the District Collectors who are the Appropriate Authorities under the PCPNDT Act.

We have a strong PCPNDT Act and I expect the District Magistrates to accord high priority for implementing this Act with a strict vigil on the misuse of technology. It is also necessary to gear up our efforts against the cultural, economic and religious roots of this social malady through women empowerment and intensive Information, Education and Communication Campaigns.  The medical colleges and professional bodies have a vital role in sensitizing medical students who are the doctors of tomorrow.

A convergent action plan needs to be in place wherein the departments of Health, Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj and others engage PRIs, Self Help Groups, ASHAs, Anganwadi Workers and youth to jointly work in the pursuit of promoting the value of the girl child. The long-term solution to this problem lies in creating the right environment where sons and daughters are equally valued.

I hope this sensitization programme will bring in a marked change in the way we face this challenge and the implementing agencies will address the issue on a more serious note."

Other guests in the Colloquium: Other than the Chief Minister, District Collectors and invitees, the colloquium was also attended by Chief Justice of Odisha High Court Justice V. Gopala Gowda,  Judge of Odisha High Court and Executive Chairman of OSLSA Justice B P Das,  and UNFPA India Representative Ms. Frederika Maijer.

 
 

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