Chandigarh, July 26, 2020: “The vision of a Self-Reliant India is not possible without an empowered woman-hood,”said Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Cabinet Ministe,r while addressing a webinar on the theme ‘The Resolve of Self-Reliant India: Decisive Role of Women Empowerment in its Attainment’ , organized by the Department of History and Interdisciplinary Centre for Swami Vivekananda Studies, Panjab University on July 25.
She stated that in present times, Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana has played an instrumental role in empowering women as out of the 38 crores new bank accounts opened, 20 crore accounts were in the name of women.
This access to bank accounts has fulfilled the task of becoming a fun-damental financial tool which has gone a long way towards empower-ing women.
In Mudra Yojana, over 75 per cent beneficiaries of the scheme have been women.
The Minister also spoke of how skill diversification and upgradation can help women achieve success and there was a need to involve larger number of girl children in pursuing Technology, Science, Maths and Research.
She pointed out that the pandemic has forced us to introspect and go back to basics like our cultural ways of boosting immunity and disease resistance.
Smriti Irani stressed that Indian society must revert back to the Indian way of thinking in which an Indian woman, in contrast to the western world, was not a mere object or a person in servitude but an equal partner who participated in debates and wrote treaties.
She may be seen as one who fed the starved and fought with bravery with her son tied to her back.
Irani spoke of ‘Access to capital’ and ‘Access to skill’ as the two areas where women need to be encour-aged.
In traditional households, she remarked, a business venture by a male could raise capital even by selling personal jewellery of the women in the family.
However, a woman’s efforts would not get the same response.
Padam Shri Malini Awasthi, Professor and Folk Singer, delved on cultural contexts in her talk.
She highlighted that Indian cul-tural values were carried forward through millions of grandmothers and mothers who taught the values of valour, service to society and motherland through folk songs.
Malini Awasthi appreciated the Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘Vocal for Local’ which has put this issue in the forefront and in the centre stage.
The data on rural economy sup-ports the fact that women are major contributors in every sphere of rural economic and social life.
She spoke of how skill diversifica-tion in areas like agro-processing and crafts can really help in trans-formation of the rural landscape.
Anar Patel, founder of Social NGO, Gramshree, highlighted, how with the vision of self-empower-ment, she has witnessed the adapt-ability of women at the ground level and how simple ventures have yield-ed significant results and generation of capital for the people .
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Raj Kumar highly appreciated the ini-tiative of Smriti Zubin Irani for gracing the webinar and sharing her words of wisdom.
He considered the three lady pan-elists to be blessed by Mother Goddess herself as they had made significant contributions in the serv-ice of their motherland.
Prof. Raj Kumar expounded on the increasing but eternal importance of women empowerment in any socie-ty if it is to thrive.
He spoke of how women have always been able to seamlessly manage multiple responsibilities and challenges and work effectively to keep their homes, families, com-munities and society well-integrated and well-organised.
The webinar was attended by 580 participants and luminaries from across the country.