Make India safe for its 'daughters': IMF chief

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New Delhi, Mar 16: For an inclusive growth, India needs to give a level-playing field to women and make its 'daughters' feel safe, and not exclude anyone on the basis of race or religion, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said on Monday.

"My definition of inclusiveness includes women and includes everybody," said Lagarde, who is on a two-day India visit, was speaking today at an event in Lady Sri Ram College.

Lagarde, who is on a two-day India visit, was replying to a query at an event here whether communal incidents would come in the way of the country achieving 7.5 per cent inclusive growth next year.

"I stick to my general principle that there should be no exclusion or no reservation or capture of the output by a particular group of people, be they of one particular group, one particular race or one particular religion. This is not correct," said Lagarde, herself a know champion of women's rights. Inclusive growth, she said, means everyone like unemployed, disabled and people belonging to all race and religions, she said.

"I am very heartened by the Prime Minister’s campaign on saving the girl child and educating the girl child. Giving girls a level-playing field is not just morally right—- it also makes economic sense.

"Tapping the potential of women can be a game changer in many countries. India is no different," the IMF Managing Director said.

Asked if she would like to personally invest in a vibrant economy like India, she: "Yes, I will. My investment, I think, will be towards education of women." She said as per a study India's female labour force participation rate is 33 per cent, which is lower than the global average of 50 per cent, and well below the East Asia average of 63 per cent.

"India faces some unique challenges. On the one hand, women have made great strides in society.

"On the other hand, much remains to be done to give girls and women a level-playing field in India; equal access to education and healthcare, and most importantly-— respect, so that all the daughters of India can feel safe in the cities and villages of your beautiful country," she said.

"Much remains to be done to give girls and women a level playing field in India; equal access to education and healthcare, and most importantly, respect, so that all the daughters of India can feel safe in the cities and villages of your beautiful country," she said.

She advocated affirmative action for emancipation of women in the workforce. "Reservation of women is required to combat the inequality," she said. On when Indian could head the IMF, she said: "I hope one of these days. I can't tell you when. One day of course."

PTI

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