Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday projected the Government's decision to waive off farmers' loans as a woman-friendly initiative, noting that women are the first victims of any crisis.
"I have often said this and you all know from experience that the first victim of any crisis is a woman. For example, when a farmer commits suicide, not only is that the end of his life, the others in his family, his wife and children, suffer," Gandhi said at a function in the Capital to give away the 'Stree Shakti Puraskar' on the occasion of International Women's Day.
"We are sensitised to this and the UPA Government at the Centre in its new Budget has announced a Rs 60,000 crore scheme to waive off farmers' loans," she said at the function, which was also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur.
Gandhi expressed the hope that happiness and peace will come to the homes of the farmers who benefit from the scheme.
The Congress President enlisted the government's other woman-friendly initiatives such as income tax exemption, changes in law, help to micro-finance projects and self-help groups, NREGA and increase in the salary of Anganwadi workers.
She also referred to her husband, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's initiative to provide women with reservation at the Panchayat level, saying it has led to ten lakh women playing an active role in decision-making process at the grassroots level.
Gandhi said the scourge of female foeticide should be eliminated and said it was her dream that no girl child is killed in the womb and no child remains uneducated.