Australian mission hosts discussion on development imperatives in India

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New Delhi, May 15 (ANI): The Australian High Commission hosted a discussion on "Development Imperatives in India" to commemorate the achievements of Australia's Direct Aid Program (DAP) in India.

Leading experts from the fields of education, environment, and health addressed an audience comprising members of non-government organisations, think-tanks, academics and the media.

Topics of discussion included the challenge of providing quality education to underprivileged children, the need to sensitise society regarding HIV/AIDS and gender issues, best-practice design of rehabilitation programs for women who have been the victims of trafficking, and the importance of engaging children on environmental issues.

Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy described the DAP as: "A mechanism for Australia to play a small but significant role in the development sector in India."

He further elaborated that 'with a special focus on women and children, we fund various groups across India and Bhutan in a wide array of fields including education, hygiene, health and the environment'.

Under DAP, the Australian High Commission provides assistance for small development activities, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of women, children, and other disadvantaged groups. Since 2001, DAP has funded 125 projects in India and three in Bhutan, distributing total funding of more than one million Australian dollars (approximately 3.5 crore rupees). Similar programs have been run through the High Commission since 1985.

The following topics were covered at the discussion:

Challenges in providing quality education to underprivileged children Geeta Dharamrajan, Executive Director, KATHA

Sensitising society towards HIV/AIDS and sexuality issues Anjali Gopalan, Executive Director, NAZ Foundation

Starting early: environmental issues and working with children Dr S M Nair, Environmental Educationist

Women trafficking: rescue and challenges in rehabilitation Roma Debabrata (ANI)

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