Bhubaneswar: One of the most important achievements of Odisha under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been Women Empowerment. Development of women and bringing in an equitable growth for them has been the core aspect in all the people centric schemes for the government.
Odisha government has implemented all the welfare schemes giving priority to women as per the Constitution of India. Be it economic, political or social arena, Odisha has tried its best to empower women in all aspects. Slowly but definitely the steps taken by the state government in this regard are being recognized and replicated by other states and the Center. The Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is an example wherein the center has stressed on women empowerment by replication Odisha’s Mission Shakti. Earlier, the center had adapted Odisha’s most successful scheme named Mamata Yojana.
Reacting on the Budget by Nirmala Sitharaman, Naveen said “After Odisha’s ”Mamata Scheme” was adopted by the Centre from 2011-2012, the replication of Odisha’s flagship women empowerment initiative ”Mission Shakti” clearly shows that the state sets a benchmark for the nation.”
The Chief Minister also hoped that like both the Mamata and Mission Shakti schemes, the next logical step towards women empowerment will be reservation for women in Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.
Mission Shakti, the flagship program of the Government of Odisha for empowerment of women has revolutionalized the rural economy. Since its inception, the scheme has empowered more than 70 lakh women through more than 6 lakh Women Self Help Groups. The positive transformation Mission Shakti has brought in Odisha has become a role model for the country today. The steady increase in economic prosperity of the women in the state is an aspect that must have prompted the center to replicate it in its programs. The Odisha government has also given priority to women under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana in which they are provided health coverage of ten lakh rupees.
With this, it remains to be seen when the center takes another bold step by adopting Odisha’s initiatives in political empowerment. Odisha has time and again asked the center to implement 33 percent reservation for women in Legislative Assemblies and the Parliament. It also passed a resolution in the assembly in this regard. As part of its commitment to political empowerment of women, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that his party, the Biju Janata Dal will field 33 percent women candidates during the last General Elections and also did so. Another example of the center taking cue from Odisha is the center had also implemented some of the unique initiatives undertaken in Odisha under the MNREGS program in Ganjam district.
Naveen’s charismatic leadership in the last two decades reaffirms that the people have have put full faith in him and his developmental policies. The most benefited people in all the government schemes and policies have been the women who have witnessed remarkable upliftment in the state.