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'Engendering all sectors in Five-Year plans necessary'

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Apr 6: Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed today opined that only engendering every sector in the country's Five-Year plans would ensure that fruits of development reached all sections of the society, especially women at the grassroots level.

Delivering the keynote address at the three-day Southern Regional Consultation on 'Engendering the Process of the 11th Five-Year plan' from the perspective of the marginalised sections of the society, here, she said there was no meaning in planning unless the fruits of development filtered down to the lowest strata of the society and changed the destiny of dalits, tribals, minorities, urban poor and the unorganised labour sector.

Dr Hameed said ''the gender component is always there in the plan, but the need of the hour is to take it through the entire plan. Be it any sector...agriculture, labour, energy, infrastructure, development, every sector needs to be engenderised.'' She said that to get the plan engenderised, there was a need to sensitise the male members of the Commission to the process and ensure that the views of the marginalised sections were integrated into the plan and implemented.

Stating that women shoulder greater burden when any form of reform or development was initiated in the country, Dr Hameed said when people were displaced from any area due to execution of mega projects, the onus of ensuring basic needs such as food and shelter for the family members rested with the women.

If proper planning was not ensured before taking up such projects, it led to dire consequences like the one being faced in the Narmada valley by thousands of displaced people led by social activist Medha Patkar, she added.

Dr Hameed said she was keen on getting a regional perspective on the plan so that the aspirations of all women could be incorporated into it.

Though India was developing at a rapid speed and its economy was booming, a huge gap existed between the haves and the have-nots, she lamented, pointing out that while a graduate from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, was offered a remuneration of Rs one crore per annum, a 14-year-old girl in Behrampur in Orissa toiled 14 hours a day to earn Rs 500 a month. ''This gap needs to be bridged to achieve overall development,'' she added.

Speaking on the occasion, National Alliance of Women (NAWO) Vice-President Pam Rajput said that for the Five-Year plans to translate into reality, planning should start from the bottom. Pointing out that only Delhi-centric consultations were held earlier and the views of a few women taken into account, she said that realising the need for taking the voices of the grassroots to the board room, it was decided to hold five regional consultations, the first of which was being held in the city.

Several issues such as female foeticide, single woman, status of women in the North-East and violence against women would be addressed during the consultation, she added.

Social activist Devaki Jain was felicitated on the occasion for receiving the 'Padma Bhushan' for her service to women and society.

The Southern Regional Consultation was organised by NAWO and Women's Voice, in association with the Planning Commission of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development, United Nations Development Fund for Women and United Nations Development Programme. Hundreds of dalits, tribals and minorities from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were participating in the event.


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