After Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sent in a record percentage of women members of Parliament in the recent Lok Sabha elections, he is even more motivated to advocate overall empowerment of women. This was witnessed in the recent Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting where he urged for development of women in all spheres.

“We must move towards empowering women in all spheres,” a government statement quoted Patnaik as saying at the Niti Aayog meeting. This was the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Patnaik has been a true champion of the cause of women’s reservation bill which has been pending in the parliament for a while now. He didn’t wait for the bill to be passed and announced in the recent Lok Sabha election that he will have 33% women candidates contest from his party Biju Janta Dal and true to his words, seven out of 21 candidates from Odisha from his party were fielded. Of these five of his women candidates won including a tribal girl who is also the youngest MP we have today, Chandrani Murmu from Keonjhar and a 65-plus years old SHG leader Pramila Bisoyi from Aska. Because of his efforts, Odisha has become the first state in the country to have 33% of women MPs.

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“As frequent elections affect development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies,” he noted in case of women empowerment.

Apart from this, he reiterated his demand for Odisha to be given the ‘Special Focus State’ status keeping in mind the kind of natural calamities; the state has to endure every now and then. “As an interim measure, states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as the Special Focus States and granted benefits of Special Category Status for a specific period,” the chief minister said. Earlier on June 11, he raised the same demand with PM Modi during a meeting.

Patnaik has been a true champion of the cause of women’s reservation bill which has been pending in the parliament for a while now. He didn’t wait for the bill to be passed and announced in the recent Lok Sabha election that he will have 33% women candidates contest from his party Biju Janta Dal and true to his words, seven out of 21 candidates from Odisha from his party were fielded.

He referred to cyclone Fani that left 14 districts devastated and killed 64 people. It also caused a total loss of Rs 9,336.26 crore after making landfall at a wind speed of about 200 kmph near Puri on May 3.

CM Patnaik also suggested that judicious usage of water is key for improvement of private sector particularly agriculture. “Second Green Revolution should happen in our dryland areas also,” Patnaik said adding that environment and economic development should go hand in hand.

“All irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on April 1, 2019, should be included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY),” he added.

Picture credit: Pragatiwadi

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