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President concerned over India's skewed sex ratio

chandigarh Updated: Mar 17, 2011 20:04 IST

President Pratibha Patil on Thursday strongly emphasised the need to improve India's skewed sex ratio.

"Today, there are fewer women in India than men, and if this trend continues it would have negative impact on the society itself," Patil said in a speech at the Panjab Universit.

She was giving the annual VN Tewari Memorial lecture.

"Punjab and Haryana are states that are already seeing the implications," she said.

"Women, particularly already those empowered, can be an effective voice for articulating women related causes, including in the fight against social evils like female foeticide, child marriage, dowry and addictions as well as against the discrimination and biases that exist in society against women," she said.

The agenda for women's empowerment should cover gender needs and concerns at every stage and sphere of life -- from protection in the womb by prohibiting female foeticide to preventing female infanticide by giving better nutrition and care to the girl child, Patil said.

"Our narrative of growth should be a story of opportunity, with a sense of satisfaction and a life of dignity for all - men and women.

"Women are half of the population of this country and their contribution can double national growth. It is because of the many roles that a woman plays, that she is a critical determinant of the future," Patil said.

"As a citizen of the country, she can contribute to its productivity, its growth, prosperity and well-being. This places her in a position to be a driver of change and growth in a rising India," she said.

"Women have been elected to the office of the president, the prime minister and speaker of the Lok Sabha. Women's entry into new areas, such as all women battalions in the Central Reserve Police Force are becoming the drivers of change," she added.

A professor and intellectual at the varsity and a former Rajya Sabha member, Tewari was killed by terrorists here in the early 1980s. His son, Manish Tewari, is a Lok Sabha member from Ludhiana.