By working tirelessly for social development and empowerment of women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has succeded in infusing life into the lethargic structure
What did the earlier Governments do for fundamental problems faced by the better half of society- the women, who are practically half the population? Even after seventy years of the country’s Independence, if the Indian Government needs to implement a campaign called Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Daughters, Teach Daughters) it clearly proves the point that previous Union Governments did not lay stress on education of girl child.
Even after more than half a Century of getting Independence from the British rule, if the Narendra Modi Government has to start the Ujjwala scheme to shun traditional stoves (chulhas) that have killed crores of mothers and sisters across generations and if it has to promote the programme to construct toilets to ensure that women are treated with respect then it establishes that Congress-led governments did nothing in terms of development and self respect of women.
Health of Women Is Priority
Urban middle-class people may not realise it. But in rural areas, collecting wood and leaves is a big task. It is very toiling in four months of the monsoon. Collecting this fuel is an exclusive responsibility of the girls and the women. They have to give at least two hours a day to this strenuous activity. Fuel for the stove is just the beginning. But cooking by sitting in front of the stove or doing other tasks is a punishment for the women as it affects their health. It is actually suppression and exploitation.
As per a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), cooking for 3- 4 hours before the stove is equivalent to smoking 1,600 cigarettes per day or rather around 6 lakh cigarettes per year. Imagine what happens to the lungs of the women due to the time they utilise in collecting the fuel. They cannot look after their kids.
They cannot contribute to the financial progress of how one chulha hampers generations of womenfolk. No Government ever cared or bothered about this sorrow. But PM Narendra Modi proved to be an exception.
He understood the sorrow of the women toiling near the chulha and started Prime Minister Ujjwala scheme in 2016. In the last 6 years, a gas stove replaced the traditional chulhas of around 10 crore poor families. Harmful impacts on health were stopped, and as the women found some time that was utilised earlier in searching for raw materials for the fuel, they started giving attention to themselves and their families. And they have started to walk on the path of financial empowerment.
Have we ever discussed the game-changing transformation that is happening in rural women’s lives? After Shri. Modi implemented his vision, around 1.5 crore families have left grants for the gas cylinder on their own. This is not less than a miracle in our country, which is known for its culture of ‘free’ things. But free gas cylinders were given for more than 8 crores from this saved grant. That means taking from society and giving it back to society!
He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) understood the sorrow of the women toiling near the chulha and started Prime Minister Ujjwala scheme in 2016. In the last 6 years, a gas stove replaced the traditional chulhas of around 10 crore poor families. Harmful impacts on health were stopped
A toilet inside the house is also as crucial as the stove. Many might have seen the Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet Ek Prem Katha. What the women have to go through when they do not have a toilet inside their homes is something which is not known to many people living in cities. Generations after generations, women had to go out for their natural calls by hiding their social dignity under their attire. Addressing this painful and shameful situation ultimately had to be done by the Prime Minister. It actually should be regarded as a defeat of our social and political system. There is one class in the country which laughs at the Swachh Bharat Mission and efforts undertaken by Modiji for creating toilets in the country. I know many who ask, is it the job of the Prime Minister? I would like to ask them another question- having a toilet inside the house, isn’t it the subject of the self-dignity of the women? The issue of the toilets is not just limited to self- dignity. It is also an environmental, cleanliness and society related concern.
Critics may not believe it but in the past six years, more than 10 crore toilets have been constructed. What a significant achievement it is! And it has been achieved only after the Prime Minister adopted a mission mode approach to confront this local issue.
Take A Look at Jaw-Dropping Figures
- For self-employment, around 45 crore persons got the easy and convenient loan under the MUDRA scheme. It has more than 25 crore women
- Ninety lakh persons were trained under Skill India, it has more than 40 lakh women
- In Jan Dhan Scheme, around 50 crore bank accounts were opened; 28 crores of them are accounts of women
- There are 2.5 crore accounts in the Atal Pension Scheme. More than 1 crore of them
belongs to women
- There are 40 per cent women accounts in Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna and 60 per cent of women are obtaining claims
- A whopping 80 per cent of accounts in the Stand-Up Scheme belong to women
- In six years, 2.5 crore houses got approval in Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Around 1.5 crore houses were completely constructed. But the real unique feature of this is that Grehlaxmi truly becomes owner of the house.
- Around 2.5 crore pregnant women are checked up before their deliveries. Defects in 12.5 lakh women are diagnosed in their pregnancies. They get Rs six thousand for their nutritional needs and their maternity leave has increased from 26 weeks to the earlier norm of 12 weeks.
- Birth rate of girls is significantly improving. In ill-famous States such as Haryana, the sex ratio has increased from 835 to 915. The maternal mortality rate is also reducing rapidly.
- Proportion of girls enrolled in primary education is 94 per cent, in secondary education, it is 81 per cent, and in higher secondary education, it has increased to 65 per cent.
- In the last few years, 1.5 crore Muslim girls have also obtained educational scholarships.
These statistics prove that figures never lie. Just imagine, not one, two, but as many as 25 crore women have obtained a loan, and they are striving to stand up on their own feet. What a great latent capacity is developing. More than 1 crore women have become owners of their houses, and more than 1.5 crore women are in the process of becoming owners. Till now, all the Governments formed schemes for women. But they all made them just beneficiaries! They were never an inevitable part of the centre of the scheme. Modiji has breached this gap. If you look carefully, you can see that most of the schemes are centred upon women.
The Government has followed a certain direction- from development of women to development under the leadership of women. Women are given ‘spaces’ in every field. They are grabbing it. It can be seen in the leadership of Chandrayaan or a symbol of military might, or it may be the steering in the times of global financial volatile scenario. Women are advancing. Attitude towards them also has changed rapidly. Otherwise, how a humble farmer woman from Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, Rahibai Popere, known as Beej Mata would have obtained a Padma award? Kalpana Saroj was born in a small village in the Vidarbha region; how could she have breached the barriers to become a significant industrialist….? After her husband, Major Prasad Mahadik, had died in a brave mission, Gauri Mahadik joined military services, and she became our icon too; how Chief of Agni 4 missile project Tessy Thomas is introduced as Missile woman and we feel so much proud in introducing her like that? How the world would have come to know about the four tigresses suppressed in religious exploitation but who fought bravely against this and stood firm against the wrongful tradition of Triple Talaq in the Supreme
Court- Shayara Banu, Gulshan Parveen, Afreen Rehman and Atiya Sabari?
The Modi Government is leading from the front to encourage the inclusion of women in defence of the country. Therefore in 2016, three women were included in the Air Force as fighter pilots. Around a year before that, in 2015, a decision was taken to directly recruit women for the non-gazetted posts in all the union territories in the police force, from constable to sub-inspector. Modi Government also took a significant decision of giving 33 per cent reservation to the women for the posts of constable in ‘CRPF’ and ‘CSIF.’ In the Navy, too, women were given permanent commission through short service.
In 2019, the first woman pilot was included in the Navy. Due to the efforts of the Government, a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit was established in Delhi in 2018. All 36 women commandos of this anti-terrorism unit belonged to the North-East States
First Woman Defence Minister
In 2019, the first woman pilot was included in the Navy. Due to the efforts of the Government, a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) unit was established in Delhi in 2018. All 36 women commandos of this anti-terrorism unit belonged to the North-East States. They were given a permanent commission in the military. During the Prime Minister’s first tenure also, the Defence Ministry was headed over by a woman- Nirmala Sitharaman. Before this, the late Indira Gandhi had the charge of the Defence Ministry during her tenure as the Prime Minister. But Sitharaman is the first woman Defence Minister in independent India.
Modiji has spoken excellently about strength of the women:
वो शक्ति है, सशक्त है
वो भारत की नारी है,
ना ज्यादा में, ना कम में
वो सब में बराबर की अधिकारी है
(She is the power, and she is capable,
She is better half of India
Now with more, not with less,
She deserves equality everywhere.)
Therefore, now Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao has not remained just a slogan on paper. Considering the rapid speed with which the better half of India is marching the world, now we are nearing the stage of Beti Padhao, Desh Badhao (Educate daughters, they will build up the nation). One can say that this is just focusing on one face of the facts. But there is no need to continuously shout and scream as if everything is over. A lot of inspirational tales are happening. We have hundreds of inspirational lighthouses with us in a sea of challenges. They are actually motivating all through their struggle, hard work, persistence and never-say-never attitude. Various schemes and strong supportive acts made in the last eight years are founding stones with which the women are going to take off beyond their circumference and become self-reliant (AatmaNirbhar). Now the next battle will be three-fold. On one side, there will be legal protection and right like the Act against Triple Talaq for Muslim women. Second is making women more capable through various schemes, and thirdly, giving them opportunities for livelihood. Through these opportunities, they will prove their capacity and strength. We wish to help them come into the mainstream of society. But it will not be done through just empathy towards them, but it will happen when they become aware of their strength. By actually doing it when they realise their potential and understand that their role is significant in the progress and development of the country, then their pride will motivate all. And that is the very dream of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India)!