Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women and Child Development co-chaired a review meeting with Smt.Tulshi Devi Rai, Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim, at the Manan Kendra, Gangtok today. The meeting was aimed at discussing the centre and the state’s shared vision and strategy around the promotion of improved gender diversity across various sectors in Sikkim.In her keynote address, Union Minister Smt Gandhi commended Sikkim’s achievements in terms of removing gender disparity. Lauding the ‘Unmarried Women’s Pension Scheme’ adopted by the state of Sikkim, the Union Minister said that she has proposed a similar initiative to be adopted at the central level. Outlining the central government’s commitment to forging an inclusive society by advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, Smt Gandhi elucidated the achievements made by the central government in bridging the gender gap in various sectors and the society at large. She said that the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign has been one of the most successful initiatives of the Government.
The Union Minister emphasized that it is not enough to merely rescue women from all forms of harassment but it is equally important to encourage skill development in order to promote entrepreneurship among women. She cited the Beti Bakery' project initiated by Chhattisgarh Government for trafficking survivors as an example.Smt Gandhi also talked at length about the proposed Anti-Trafficking Bill saying that the proposed law will change the entire dialogue around trafficking as it seeks to penalise the perpetrators and not the victims as has been under prevailing laws.Furthermore, the Union Minister assured the government of Sikkim that all pending payments towards funds allocated for the implementation of welfare schemes in Sikkim will be released within a week. She also said the centre would extend all possible support in setting up of another Working Women’s Hostel in the state.The meeting was attended by high-ranking officials of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim, officials and workers involved in the implementation of centrally-sponsored women and child development schemes, members of NGO, school children and members of the press.