Tirupati, Sep 11 : Congress president Sonia Gandhi today praised the Andhra Pradesh government for taking the lead in women's empowerment in the country.
She said the performance of the state government to empower women was not only admired by the rest of the country but had also aroused curiosity abroad.
"During my visit to other countries, I am often asked by women leaders about the programmes taken up by the Andhra Pradesh government," she said while interacting with members of self-help groups (SHGs) and women beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
"I wish to congratulate the Chief Minister for his leadership in ensuring women get fully empowered," she said in the presence of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
Soon after her arrival at Renigunta airport on a day-long visit to the state, Sonia Gandhi had an interaction with SHG members. Some women explained to her how the SHGs helped them earn livelihood.
"I congratulate each one of my sisters. Your dedication, courage and hard work is producing results," she told the women.
Andhra Pradesh accounts for one-third of SHGs in the country. They are doing a commendable job in poverty reduction in rural areas. There are about 8.8 million women members of the SHGs, which get soft loans from the state government to run small businesses.
She will address a meeting of SHG members here and a public meeting in Anantapur later Thursday. She will also inaugurate the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Kadapa.