UNDP chief Clark to visit India from March 5 to 10

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New Delhi, March 4 (ANI): Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), arrives in India on Friday for a five-day official visit.

During her visit, Clark will release the UNDP-sponsored Asia Pacific Human Development Report and visit the Bhilwara district in Rajasthan.

In New Delhi, Miss Clark will call on the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, and other senior officials.

Clark was appointed as UNDP head in April 2009 and also serves as the Chair of the UN Development Group which unites 32 UN agencies.

Prior to her appointment at UNDP, Clark served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008.

This is Clark's first visit to India as UNDP Administrator and will be an opportunity for her to review important areas of cooperation between UNDP and the Indian government.

India is emerging as a key player in global forums and is rapidly enlarging South-South cooperation with its neighbours, as well as in other regions.

India has also created several successful innovative programmes in social development and has a wealth of knowledge that can be shared with other developing countries. Clark's discussions with Indian officials will explore how the UNDP-India partnership can be expanded to support the sharing of these innovative programmes with other countries.

She is also scheduled to meet with the Minister of External Affairs, S.M. Krishna; Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia; and the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh.

Clark will arrive in Delhi and will travel to Bhilwara district in Rajasthan on Saturday to visit the Indian government's flagship programme-Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme or NREGP-that guarantees 100 days of paid work to any household that demands it.

She will visit UNDP-supported projects within this programme, including functional literacy classes conducted for NREGP workers at worksites; skill-building training centre for workers; information kiosk and community radio programmes to enhance legal awareness about workers' rights; payment of wages to workers through bank business correspondents; and others. Clark will be accompanied by the Union Minister for Rural Development, Dr. C. P. Joshi.

In Bhilwara, Clark will also meet women Panchayat leaders to witness the revolutionary change that has been brought about through women's participation in decision making at the local level.

UNDP supports the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in capacity building of locally elected representatives, particularly women representatives. In Jaipur, she will also call on the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot.

On March 8, Clark will release the UNDP-sponsored Asia Pacific Human Development Report-Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality for the Asia and the Pacific-in New Delhi along with senior Indian leaders to mark the International Women's Day.

Following the global release of the report, Clark will chair a high-level panel discussion with luminaries from across the Asia-Pacific region.

Wrapping up her visit, Clark will deliver a keynote address at a symposium on 'Millennium Development Goals and Human Development in India: Achievements and Challenges' on March 9.

Jointly organised by the Institute of Human Development and the UNDP India, this symposium and panel discussion will be chaired by parliamentarian Dr. M.S. Swaminathan who is known as the 'Father of the Green Revolution in India'.

Panelists include Prof. Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, and Prof. Bina Agarwal, Director and Professor at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi University.

Clark will leave India on March 10. (ANI)

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