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Women the biggest votaries for peace, says Sonia

By Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar
April 12, 2008 22:50 IST
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Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said women were the biggest votaries for peace, and it is was the focus of her party to improve their lot.

Sonia was addressing a one-day women's convention organised by the Mahila Congress in Jammu on Saturday.

Describing the women of Jammu and Kashmir as 'brave daughters of the state', the Congress president said they had "faced trials and tribulations with fortitude and emerged as a symbol of courage".

"Throughout the world, women suffer most the brunt of violence and have naturally become the forefront votaries of peace," she said.

Sonia called for "coordinated efforts by women across the globe to ensure their empowerment".

"The Congress party has a long history of championing the cause of women in the country," she added.

Dwelling on the women-oriented initiatives taken by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, the Congress president said that laws aimed at bettering their lot had received special attention. She specifically referred to legislations relating to inheritance and crimes against women.

The Congress president said, "Womenfolk were given greater income tax rebates this year and honorarium of anganwari workers and helpers was increased".

Sonia said the Congress party was working towards making women "economically self reliant and promoting women self help groups".

"Insurance scheme for women is being launched," Sonia said, adding that 4.8 lakh women had been appointed throughout the country as to provide health facilities to rural women.

Sonia said maternity assistance and old age pension for women had been increased. Besides, she said the budgetary allocation for development of women and children had been enhanced this year.

The UPA chairperson said that residential schools for girl students from ST and SC categories were being set up to promote education among girls belonging to downtrodden sections.

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Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar