Women empowerment govt’s top priority: Prez

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New Delhi, (UNI) President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said women empowerment is one of the top priorities of the Centre and added that the government introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha to increase the marriageable age of women to 21 years at par with men.

The President made the statement in his customary address to the joint sitting of both Houses of the Parliament on the first day of the Budget session. Mentioning about ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, Kovind said:”The initiative has yielded many positive results, and there has been an encouraging improvement in the number of girls enrolled in schools.”

Talking about ‘Triple Talaq’, the President said: “The government has made a beginning to liberate the society from the manifestly arbitrary practice of Triple Talaq by making it a criminal offence. Restrictions on Muslim women from performing the Haj only with ‘Mehram’ have also been removed.”

“The government has provided scholarships to 4.5 crore such students from minority communities especially Muslims since 2014. This has led to a significant reduction in the school dropout rate of Muslim girls and an increase in their enrolment,” he said.

Citing that women are playing an important role in providing impetus to ‘rural economy’, Kovind said: “Banks have extended financial help of Rs 65,000 crore to more than 28 lakh Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in 2021-22. “This is four times the amount extended in 2014-15.

The government has also provided training to thousands of members of the women self-help groups and made them partners as ‘Banking Sakhi’. These women are delivering banking services to rural households at the doorsteps.”

On the National Education Policy (NEP), the President said: “A provision has also been made for ‘Gender Inclusion Fund’ in the NEP to promote learning capability among our daughters. It is a matter of happiness that all the existing 33 Sainik Schools have started admitting girl students.”

Kovid said the government has also approved the admission of women cadets in the National Defence Academy (NDA) and added that the first batch of women cadets will enter the NDA in June this year.

The number of women personnel in various police forces has more than doubled as compared to 2014 following the policy decisions and encouragement of women, he asserted.

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