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10 Times Naveen Patnaik Supported Women Centric Initiatives in Odisha

naveen patnaik women

Biju Janata Dal supremo and 14th Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik says that no country or state can prosper without strengthening women. And no doubt his words have translated into actions throughout his political career. Today when he is in news for demanding women’s reservation in parliaments and assemblies, let us have a look at 10 instances of Naveen Patnaik’s women-centric leadership that proved his dedication towards women empowerment.

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  1. Odisha today is known to be the leading state in terms of women empowerment in every sector and much credit goes to Naveen Patnaik. Under his leadership, Odisha became the first state in India to provide 50 per cent reservation to women in Panchayati Raj Institutions. “While initially there was a lot of criticism with most people saying that husbands and fathers will actually run the show, today more than sixty thousand women in Odisha are doing remarkable jobs as Ward Members, Sarpanchs, Block Samiti, Zilla Parishad Members, and Presidents,” said Patnaik.
  2. Earlier this year, at the occasion of International Women’s Day, Naveen Patnaik announced the launch of Mission Shakti, a department of self-help groups exclusively dedicated to the welfare of women in the state. With this Odisha became the first state ever to have an exclusive self-help department for women. Under this scheme, Odisha has 6 lakh self-help groups with 7 million women. These groups strive towards economic empowerment of women by initiating income-generating activities and providing interest-free loans. “Be it financial independence or representing the people in Parliament, empowering women has been the cornerstone of our development initiatives. We will continue to work towards championing them in every field and create spaces for their leadership towards progress,” he had said.
  3. Odisha became the first state in India to launch the Indian Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) women chamber, namely ICC Women Entrepreneurship Committee. It is a group of diverse and dedicated women entrepreneurs that work together to hasten the industrial development in the state. Starting with 40 women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, the committee aims at including 100 women entrepreneurs from the state by the end of the year 2020.
  4. Patnaik launched the Mamata Scheme for the welfare of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas. Under this scheme, around six lakh pregnant women received 5000 rupees as cash assistance for medical procedures during pregnancy.
  5. Odisha government launched the Startup Odisha initiative to bolster potential women entrepreneurs by ensuring that at least 33 per cent of new Startups have women as Founders or Co-Founders. Moreover, it was aimed at making Odisha as one of the top three startup destinations of India.
  6. Citing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as examples of women leadership, Patnaik had said, “A nation that does not give effective representation to women in its highest decision-making forum is running on a single engine.” He further added, “If India has to hit the highway of growth and compete with the likes of US and China, it has to transform its political landscape by empowering women. This is the real double engine the country needs, to bring about growth with equity and justice.”
  7. Being a purveyor of women’s representation in politics and government, Patnaik strongly believes in women’s contribution to the nation’s governance. He had said, “If politics is the exercise of power, women have a more humane touch in its expression. If politics can decide a Nation’s values, is it prudent to have half our population not actively involved in decision making,”
  8. If women’s representations increase in Indian politics, Patnaik believes that it will change our approach to many issues and also hasten the response. “Questions of war, peace, and terrorism would be differently decided. Our laws on rape, sexual assault and dowry will be more effectively implemented. Education and Health would be given much more focus. Empowering household incomes will be as much a priority as empowering corporate incomes,” he said.
  9. Speaking about the failure of national parties to ensure women’s empowerment and representation, Patnaik said, “Both the national parties in their Manifestos have repeatedly spoken about women’s empowerment, but somewhere when it comes to walking the talk – there is a deafening silence”.
  10. Naveen Patnaik recognises the idea that women’s empowerment has been a constant issue despite the independence of the nation and to achieve the distant dream, we need to aim towards “challenging the status quo and creating precedence for women.”

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