Encourage empowerment of women: President

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 1 (UNI) President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today called upon the state governments to make empowerment of women a the main policy plank.

''Women's participation in public affairs, economic activity and social sphere is important for healthy and sustainable growth,'' the President said while inaugurating the year-long centenary celebrations of Former Kerala Chief Minister R Sankar.

She pointed out that Kerala's record in reducing general disparity in many social and economic fields was commendable.

Investments in health and education combined with good administration and participation by people in decision-making had made Kerala an enlightened state with very talented human resource base.

Stating that Kerala's future was bright, she said the state had all the ingredients necessary for making progress in the field of IT, high technology areas, tourism and other services.

It should continue to pursue the promotion of holistic health care,employment-oriented higher education and gender equality.

The President pointed out that Mr Sankar was the Chief Minister of Kerala during the most turbulent periods in the political history of the state.

Besides, being a towering poilitical leader and a great statesman, he was an able administrator and an ideal teacher, advocate, social worker and journalist who exhibited unusual courage to take decisions without fear or favour.

''His emphasises on education has, undoubtedly, contributed to where Kerala society stands today in terms of educational attainments.

''Such initiatives are still necessary in this country to realise the dream of an egalitarian society,'' she added.

Born in Puthoor on April 30, 1909, Mr Sankar was the Chief Minister of Kerala from 1962 to 1964.

Kerala Governor R L Bhatia, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Union Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Oommen Chandy, Veteran Congress Leader K Karunakaran and KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala were among those who spoke on the occasion.

UNI SH/CR GM PJ KN1409

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