Sunday, September 13, 2009
Gangtok,Sep12: Mr. P. D. Rai, Lok Sabha MP of Sikkim, participated in a seminar in Bangkok earlier this week which was conducted by The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). More than 35 MPs from different countries attended the two day seminar. The deliberations included how Parliamentarians can help in addressing the issues related to violence against women in today’s world. Mr. Rai, who was representing India, spoke of the need to align many of the country’s development work to include gender sensitivity. He outlined the steps taken by India in this regard including gender budgeting. Outcome reports on this issue will be now scrutinized by MPs. He highlighted that India had great personalities like Mother Teresa, Mrs. Indira Gandhi and the like. He also mentioned Meira Kumar, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati and Jayalalitha as heavy weights in today’s political space. However, there was room to do more, he added.
He also spoke of Sikkim’s own women empowerment policy as well as the leadership it is providing in this area where women are coming forward in larger numbers to take leadership roles in public. He said that Sikkim at the behest of Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling, had shown the way by electing the first woman speaker in the country, Mrs. Kalawati Subba, in the Legislative Assembly in 1999. Mr. Rai distributed Sikkim’s well designed booklets which were well appreciated by the MPs many of whom evinced keen interest in visiting the Himalayan State.
The Asian Parliamentarians have formed a sub-committee to take women empowerment forward. Mr. Rai is also a member of this committee. Parliamentarians from Australia, Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippine, Papua New Guinea, Laos and Vietnam participated in the deliberations.
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