President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said real empowerment of women would be possible only through education, encouragement of economic self-dependence and provision of opportunities.
"Real empowerment of women will be possible only through education, encouragement of economic self-dependence and provision of opportunities enabling the unfolding of one s full potential," he said.
Speaking after inaugurating the Bansilal Malani College of Nursing here established by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti, Mukherjee said it is unfortunate that on Saturday, when the average literacy rate in India is 74 percent, the literacy rate in women is less than 65 percent.
He said a society which does not empower its women will end up as a loser, and called for renewed efforts in this direction.
Mukherjee expressed concern over the deficiencies in the health infrastructure of the country. He said the only long lasting solution is to create cooperative structures comprising the government and private stakeholders as well as civil society.
"In fact, the developmental goals of health, education, livelihood cannot be achieved by the government alone. Such cooperative structures are relevant for all of them," he said.
The President further said there is a phenomenal shortage of about 2.4 million nurses in our country and there is a decrease in the number of nurses from about 1.65 million in 2009 to about 1.56 million last year.
"This indicates a worry-some trend. At the same time, our infrastructure also comprises of just 1.53 lakh health sub-centres, 85,000 PHCs and about 5000 Community Health Centres in a nation of 130 crore people living in more than 5000 towns and 6.4 lakh villages," Mukherjee said and stressed that it is essential to look for models where in all stake-holders participate rather than the government alone.
The President praised the leading role played by the Mahila Dakshata Samiti in women empowerment and recalled the contributions of the outfit's founding members such as uman Krishankant, Pramila Dandavate and Goa Governor Mridula Sinha.