New Delhi, Mar 8: Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi today projected the Government's decision to waive off farmers' loans as a woman-friendly initiative. Giving the 'Stree Shakti Puraskar' on International Women's Day here, Sonia said: "The first victim of any crisis is a woman. For example, when a farmer commits suicide, not only is that the end of his life, the others in his family, his wife and children, suffer". "We are sensitised to this and the UPA Government in its new Budget has announced a Rs 60,000 crore scheme to waive off farmers' loans," she added.
She enlisted the government's other woman-friendly initiatives such as income tax exemption, changes in law, help to micro-finance projects and self-help groups, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and increase in the salary of Anganwadi workers. While referring her husband, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's initiative to provide women with reservation at the panchayat level, Sonia said it has led to ten lakh women playing an active role in decision-making process at the grassroots level. Sonia further added that the scourge of female foeticide should be eliminated and it was her dream that no girl child is killed in the womb and no child remains uneducated.