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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Modi govt lacks vision on women’s issues: Brookings

Smruti Koppikar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 26, 2014
First Published: 00:34 IST(26/6/2014) | Last Updated: 00:39 IST(26/6/2014)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has in the past one month demonstrated “a disturbing lack of policy vision on women’s issues… and a feeble understanding of the sustained gross neglect” that Indian women face, says a research paper by the reputed Brookings Institution, India Center.

The paper, titled ‘Beginning a new conversation on women’, co-authored by economist-researcher Shamika Ravi and research assistant Anuradha Sajjanhar, points to “glaring absences” about women’s issues in the 10-point agenda that Modi had put out within days of taking charge as Prime Minister.

“This shows there’s no policy priority to the issue,” Ravi, currently a fellow with the Brookings Institution, India Center, told HT.

“Riding on the aspirations of an electorate, Modi’s arrival in Delhi is seen as a vote for development. Women are a significant part of that electorate with fundamentally different concerns…While he has urged us to not ‘analyse’ the rapes and rather focus on national efforts on ‘protecting’ women, this rhetoric displays a feeble understanding,” states the paper released on June 23.

The PMO did not offer any response or comment.

The worldwide Gender Inequality Index reflects the current state of women in India, which ranks 133 out of 146 countries listed, behind even war-torn ones like Iraq and Sudan.

“In India, gender and equity are much more serious issues than in many other countries. There’s the case of missing women in the population, missing women from the electoral rolls, crimes within and outside the homes, and so on,” said Ravi. “There’s an urgent case for a comprehensive policy. But even with this government, which promised so much, it seems to be business as usual with women’s issues relegated to one department and no one knows what it’s doing,” she said.


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