Women empowerment plays a key factor in achieving economic growth and social development and without it, the agenda of sustainable development cannot be fulfilled. The Minister of State for Education, Tourism and Culture, Priya Sethi stated this on the sidelines of distribution of free gas connections to eligible women beneficiaries hailing from BPL and SC/ST families on the occasion of Ujjwala Divas under the aegis of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan at Ranjeet Pur here today.Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that the government has launched various welfare schemes aiming towards empowering women and their welfare is a constant part of the national and the state schemes and policies.“Earlier, women folk was overlooked but now there is growing emphasis on incorporating women’s concerns, their voices were being heard and they are recognized as nation builders and flag bearers of nation’s development,” the Minister affirmed.The Minister also informed the gathering regarding the welfare schemes launched by the government and asked them to avail their benefits.Priya Sethi said the government has launched Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls. Ladli Beti scheme was launched to arrest the declining female sex ratio and reduce the financial burden of the girl’s parents, she said, adding that the scheme further intends to ensure that the girl child does not become a burden for the parent or guardian at the time of her marriage.Swachh Vidyalaya Programme was launched with an objective to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in all government schools, the Minister added.
Underlining the importance of using clean fuel, the Minister said that there is a sufficient population that is still relying on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking and the smoke from burning such fuels causes alarming household pollution and adversely affects the health of Women and children causing several respiratory diseases.Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood, the Minister asserted.The Minister called for spreading mass awareness among female folks regarding benefits of using clean cooking fuel to achieve the enhanced target of enrolling 8 crore LPG beneficiaries.Priya Sethi asked the women who have experienced the benefits of cooking with LPG to boost the confidence of other women about adopting this clean, green cooking fuel safely and without any reservations or misconceptions as sharing of experiences by actual users and learning through peer group interaction is the main aim of LPG Panchayats.The Minister also showed her concerns over the issues and problems faced by the border area residents.
Other key activities undertaken to mark Ujjwala Diwas include organization of LPG Panchayats, explaining the details of expanded PMUY categories and collection of KYC forms for expanded categories of Ujjwala. Safety manual was also distributed during the Panchayat session.Pertinently, targeted to hold 15000 LPG Panchayats on the Ujjwala Diwas as part of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, the gas connections provided to the poor women under PMUY which is a flagship programme of the Government of India to provide clean cooking fuel to BPL women. Each Panchayat targeting a participation of 500 women with a goal of enrolling at least 100 new LPG beneficiaries.CGM, HPCL, Subodh Batra, Senior Politician, Omi Khajuria, Social activist Veena Gupta besides Sarpanch, prominent citizens from all walks of life were present on the occasion.Later, the Minister also visited Government Primary School, Ranjeet Pur and directed for upgradation of school infrastructure and ensuring clean sanitation in the school premises.