Terming female foeticide as a "shame" on Indian society, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the country cannot progress unless women become equal partners in growth.
"It is very sad that in our society, the girl child is being killed even before being born. This is a shame on our society," Singh said addressing the nation from the Red Fort on the 63rd Independence Day.
"As soon as possible we have to remove this blot. Our progress will be incomplete till women become equal partners in the growth," he said.
Asserting that the Government was committed towards providing 33 per cent reservation in the Parliament, Singh said "We are trying to make a law through which women will be given 50 per cent reservation in rural and local bodies so that they get equal representation".
The Prime Minister announced the launch of a National Female Literacy Mission with an aim to reduce female illiteracy by half.
He said special care would be taken of needs of women and children and added that the Government has decided to extend the benefit of ICDS to every child below the age of six years by March 2012.