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    Gujarat championing cause of women empowerment

    By Asha Lalwani

    "Yatra Nariyastu Pujyante Ramante Tatra Devta" the famous quote indicates where a woman is worshipped like a devi (Goddess), God resides there. Gujarat is one place where women are truly respected; moreover, a number of initiatives have been taken to empower women and to tackle the most burning problem in India-female foeticide. As the words of Shri Narendra Modi go, "The act of female foeticide should not be there, instead birth of a girl child should become a matter of pride for the family."

    Narendra Modi with child

    With Beti-Bachao and several other initiatives taken by Shri Narendra Modi, Gujarat has come a long way ahead and has topped among the safest places to work. With a large number of BPOs coming to Gujarat, the tag of women friendly state where the security and safety of women is duly taken care of is attracting one and all. There are several states where crimes like female foeticide and rapes are a matter of great concern, the ratios of the same proves it all.

    Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi started the ‘Beti-Bachao' campaign around a decade ago. Year after year, Modi has tried to appeal to diverse sections of Gujarat to understand and value the importance of a girl-child. In ways unique to such sections, Gujarat Health Ministry has recently opened a website www.betivadhaao.com in a bid to create online facility to receive complains on Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, in a two-day workshop on PC and PNDT act related issues, organized by the Health department of the state government.

    Malnutrition problems can be solved but for that to happen, the little fairy should be first allowed to enter this world. It's a depressing matter that there are certain corners in the nation where the heinous crime of killing daughters even before they are born is being executed. To quote a few, a recent news revealed that a woman doctor from Yamuna Nagar area, Haryana in Delhi suburb, has been arrested after she was allegedly caught aborting a foetus during a raid conducted by the health department officials. In another instance, a Jalgaon-based doctor, was charged of conducting illegal sex-determination tests recommended by a power products trader.

    In recent times, where women in India have shouldered the responsibilities of men, their safety at the work place is a matter of significant importance. Considering the same Gujarat has proved itself as few of the safest places to work. According to a recent survey, among the list of safest cities included Vadodara in Gujarat which has been ranked the second safest place to work followed by Shimla. This survey was done in 37 cities across the country and comprised 6,167 respondents. Vadodara was among the best cities that had low crime rates and no terror attacks.

    Furthermore, a senior manager (services) of a BPO, based at Gandhinagar, attributed the fact that the state (Gujarat) is considered to be a lot safer for women when compared to other metros. Elaborating the same, he said: "One of the reasons for the phenomenal jump in the BPO industry in Gujarat is that the state has an image of providing a safe working environment. With BPO companies recruiting more women, they prefer safer cities." Gujarat has added 20 new BPO companies in the past few years.

    The BPO centres have a lot of night shifts as most of these cater to clients in the US. Day time in the US means night here. Most companies prefer to employ women to handle their BPO activities as clients prefer to speak to women as they can understand the problems of clients better.

    While the Women's Cell-CID (crime) of Gujarat police has launched a special campaign, named ‘Savcheti Maj Suraksha', to spread awareness about violent crimes against women and sexual harassment faced by the fair sex. A film has also been produced that instructs educational institutions and even girls and adult women on what they can do to check sexual harassment, particularly at educational institutions.

    On the flip side, there are certain cities that have been treating them as an unfair sex. The Congress ruled Delhi has become a RAPE CAPITAL of India. According to the report published by National Crime Records Bureau, among 35 cities, Delhi (3,886) has accounted for 16.0% of total crimes followed by Hyderabad (1,964) (8.1%). The crime rate was significantly higher in Vijayawada, Jaipur, Faridabad, Lucknow, Vishakhapatnam and Agra at 113.7, 50.9, 47.0, 46.4, 45.6 and 45.3, respectively, as compared to average of mega cities at 22.6.

    Among 35 cities, Delhi city has accounted for 23.0% of rape cases, 37.7% of kidnapping & abduction cases, 14.6% of dowry deaths and 16.5% of molestation cases.

    Hyderabad has reported 12.2% of cases of cruelty by husband and relatives. Vijayawada has reported 16.0% of cases of eve-teasing. Kolkata city has reported 3 out of 7 cases reported under Importation of Girls.

    Chastity of women once snatched can never be returned back unlike other valuables. It's a matter of pride for the Modi government that Gujarat has created new benchmarks on the safety front.

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