Mauritius, India meet to set social sector pact into motion

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New Delhi, Jan 10 (UNI) Indian and Mauritian officials led by their Ministers for Social Justice today met to set in motion the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two countries for cooperation in the field of social defence and welfare of the elderly and the disabled.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Meera Kumar said there had been a paradigm shift in India's initiatives in the social sector with the emphasis on empowerment rather than charity and doles for uplift.

''Social justice to weaker sections and their empowerment to enable them to participate in the process of development has taken precedence over the notion of charity,'' she said, addressing the first working session on the MoU between India and Mauritius for cooperation in the field of social defence and disability.

She said this shift in perspective took place with the growing realisation that no development would be complete and meaningful unless its fruits reach the weakest sections.

The Mauritian delegation was led by Minister for Social Security Sheilabai Bappoo.

The MoU was signed by the two countries last year in Mauritius for cooperation in the field of social defence, disability and community development.

''With the MoU, the two countries can exchange expertise and capabilities for training, research and documentation as well as preparation of database in the field of age care, substance and alcohol abuse prevention, empowerment of persons with disabilities and other areas of social welfare and community development,'' Ms Kumar added.

The MoU would enhance the scope of cooperation and facilitate closer interaction at a people-to-people level, she said.

The Mauritian Minister also agreed that her country and India have a common agenda to address in the social sector. ''We have a lot to learn from India's initiatives and share our experiences,'' she said.

This is a comprehensive MoU between the two countries, from which both the countries would be benefited, she said, and expressed hope that it would address the issues like welfare of the elderly, disabled persons, children in difficult circumstances and prevention of substance and alcohol abuse.

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