Women’s issues: PM’s expectations through Maan Ki Baat

Every Sunday is a special day when Indians wait to get acquainted with the thoughts of their Prime Minister through the programme Mann Ki Baat.
Women’s issues: PM’s expectations through Maan Ki Baat

Partha Pratim Mazumder


Every Sunday is a special day when Indians wait to get acquainted with the thoughts of their Prime Minister through the programme Mann Ki Baat. First broadcast on October 3, 2014, Mann Ki Baat is an Indian radio programme in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses citizens on various issues and ideas pertaining to national importance. As television is not widely available in India yet, especially in isolated rural regions, All India Radio (AIR) was chosen to be the official medium to reach the population.

It will complete 100 episodes on April 30, 2023. Mann Ki Baat is unique in terms of its subject matter, design, interaction, and innovative way of communicating with people and society as a whole. Mann Ki Baat has been widely characterized as a social revolution and finds its solid base in Jan Bhagidari. The programme has been conceived and implemented around the idea of citizen engagement and participation, right from the formulation of the name of the show to the choice of subjects and calls to action that the Prime Minister includes in this programme.

In Mann Ki Baat programme, PM Modi said that “India’s Nari Shakti is leading from the front” and women power is playing a significant role in the emerging Indian power. Women are showing power in all fields. Today, the potential of India is emerging from a new perspective and our women power has a very big role in it. Today, the potential of India is emerging from a new perspective and our women power has a very big role in it. The Prime Minister remembered astronaut Kalpana Chawla and said she gave a valuable message to all Indians, especially young girls....Her message is, ‘Nothing is impossible for women, if they have a strong will’.

He highlighted that since the age when the Vedas were composed by women, nari shakti has set numerous milestones and continues to play a pioneering role. Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated giving equal rights to women from all faiths and appealed to people to stop discriminating between a girl and a boy and protect “Sitas of our homes”. “The discrimination between daughters and sons signifies the Ravan mentality. Be it educated, uneducated, poor, rich, urban, rural, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian...they can be from different economic or social backgrounds, but daughters should get equal rights.”

The Prime Minister gave the example of three Indian Air Force (IAF) women pilots who will soon be flying a supersonic fighter jet for the first time in India’s history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also highlighted the contribution of police personnel and said that the women police forces are becoming role models for lakhs of daughters of India. Today, the daughters of the country are performing even the toughest duties with full force and zeal and the presence of women security personnel naturally instills a sense of confidence among the people, especially women.

PM Modi also focus how a delegate from India objected to the Universal Declaration of UN Human Rights draft which was being inscribed as ‘All Men are Created Equal’ in 1947-48 and then it was then written in the Universal Declaration – ‘All Human Beings are Created Equal’. This was in consonance with India’’s age-old tradition of gender equality. He further praised the role of women in the increasing influence and power of the United Nations.

He said the dream of a New India envisages women who are strong, empowered and equal partners in development. He said a woman’s power today underlined inner fortitude and self-confidence, which made her self-reliant. “Not only has she herself advanced but has carried forward the country and society to newer heights…Today the country is moving forward from the path of women development to women-led development. We are part of a tradition where men were identified because of women. Yashoda-Nandan, Kaushalya-Nandan, Gandhari-Putra, these were identities of a son…,” he said. Whatever action a leader performs, common people follow and whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, the world pursues.

Job opportunities for women in India are often curtailed because they have to step outside the safe boundaries of their homes and villages and venture into different cities all on their own. Therefore, the government came up with working women hostels in other parts of the country to ensure the safety of ambitious women without costing them their protection. The Centre came up with a scheme for “housing working women in different cities” with the primary objective of empowering Indian women. Widowed, single, separated and physically disabled women are allowed inside the hostels. In some cases, even children can stay with their mothers on the hostel premises.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development came up with a scheme titled ‘Mahila-e-Haat’ to assist small women entrepreneurs. The direct internet marketing platform was conceptualized to help women who were micro-business owners, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) showcase their products and services. The centrally sponsored scheme was designed to empower rural women through community participation. Women’s participation in India is multi-faceted, and a large section of women workers are employed in the unorganized sector. Therefore, the Central Government’s repeated attempts of bringing women to work in the mainstream of the country’s economy have made PM Modi a heartthrob amongst Indian women.

The task of the Narendra Modi-led NDA was not limited to social empowerment or financial independence for women. The mandate was to deliver both, in adequate proportions, depending on the educational, social and economic position of the beneficiary. For a woman who not only had to work her way through gender-bias, but often work doubly hard to prove her mettle, times have changed significantly both at personal and professional fronts. As investors look beyond gender, it must be noted that shift in opportunities and resources for women can be observed in both rural and urban areas.

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