President calls for renewed efforts towards women literacy

Hyderabad, Dec 24 (IANS) Expressing concern over the relatively lower rate of literacy among women in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called for renewed efforts in this direction.

“Real empowerment of women would be possible only through education, encouragement of economic self-dependence and provision of opportunities enabling the unfolding of one’s full potential.

“It is unfortunate that today when average overall literacy in India was 74 per cent, women’s literacy is less than 65 per cent,” Mukherjee said while inaugurating the Bansilal Malani College of Nursing, established by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti here.

“A society which does not empower its women will end up as a loser. Renewed efforts in this direction are needed,” the President added.

Mukherjee also expressed concern over the deficiencies in the health infrastructure of the country.

“There is a phenomenal shortage of about 2.4 million nurses in our country. There was a decrease in the number of nurses from about 1.65 million in 2009 to about 1.56 million in 2015. This indicates a worrisome trend,” he said.

The President said: “At the same time, our infrastructure also comprises just 1.53 lakh sub-centres, 85,000 PHCs (Primary Healthcare Centres) and about 5,000 Community Health Centres in a nation of 130 crore people living in more than 5,000 towns and 6.4 lakh villages. It is essential to look for models wherein all stakeholders participate rather than the government alone.”

Talking about the solution to the deficiency in the national health infrastructure, he said the only long-lasting solution is to create cooperative structures comprising the government and the private stakeholders as well as the civil society.

“In fact, the developmental goals of health, education and livelihood cannot be achieved by the government alone. Such co-operative structures are relevant for all of them,” he added.

He praised the leading role played by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti in women’s empowerment and recalled the contributions of the Samiti’s founding members including Mridula Sinha, the Governor of Goa.