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Housewives’ contribution to development remains to be calculated: Collector

Special Correspondent

Women continue to play second fiddle to men: Dharmendra Pratap

— Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

Financial aid: Vellore Collector Dharmendra Pratap handing over a cheque for marriage assistance to a beneficiary during the International Women’s Day celebrations in Vellore on Saturday. Vellore MLA C. Gnanasekharan (third from left), District Social Welfare Officer Saroja Thiruvengadam (right), District Panchayat chairperson Sheela Rajan (second from right) and Vellore Municipal Chairman P. Karthikeyan are in the picture.

VELLORE: The silent contribution made by housewives to the economic development of the country remains to be calculated, according to Collector Dharmendra Pratap.

Participating in the International Women’s Day celebrations organised jointly by the Field Publicity Office and the Women’s Organisation for Rural Development at the Town Hall here on Saturday, he said the role of housewives in managing homes was invaluable. “Just imagine the amount that you would have to spend if you engage professionals to undertake this work. Then you would understand the role played by housewives to the development of the nation’s economy”, he said.

The Collector said women today had come to occupy top posts in organisations and had made their presence felt in the business fraternity. Besides, they played a great role as chiefs of local bodies. But women continued to play second fiddle to men. This could be seen from the extra-constitutional role played by the husbands of several elected local body chiefs who acted as de facto chairpersons of municipalities or town panchayats, he said.

Vellore MLA C. Gnanasekharan, who presided, recalled the role played by Rajiv Gandhi in drafting the Panchayat Raj Act and the Nagar Palika Act, which, after being enacted by the Narasimha Rao regime, ensured 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies.

P. Karthikeyan, municipal chairman, Vellore, said the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had introduced several schemes for the welfare of women.

S. Vidyasagar, Project Officer, Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project, Vellore, said a total of 3.5 lakh women’s Self-Help Groups, with a membership of more than 50 lakh women, had been formed throughout Tamil Nadu. Vellore district alone accounted for 15,200 SHGs with more than 2.5 lakh women as members.

Saroja Thiruvengadam, District Social Welfare Officer, said the enactment of the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Domestic Violence and Atrocities Against Women Act had speeded up the disposal of complaints relating to domestic violence. Out of the 90 petitions the DSWO received this year, 52 were amicably settled through compromise. Cases were filed in respect of 42 petitions. Seven cases had resulted in judgements.

The act facilitated legal disposal of complaints within 60 days, she added.

T. Sivakumar, Field Publicity Officer, said ‘Investing in Women and Girls’ was the theme chosen by the United Nations for the Women’s Day celebrations this year.

A. Roseline Malini, Sub-Inspector, All Women’s Police Station, said women could call the helpline 1091 to lodge complaints against domestic violence , if they were not in a position to visit the police station in person.

Sheela Rajan, Chairperson, Vellore District Panchayat, and R. Santhagunam, District Communications Officer (Nutrition), spoke. A. Maragadam, Director, WORD, delivered the keynote address.

Earlier, the Collector distributed marriage assistance of Rs.15,000 each to beneficiaries under the Moovalur Ramamritham Ammayar Scheme and sewing machines to members of SHGs.

He also distributed welfare aid to the tune of Rs.4.26 lakh on the occasion.

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