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Omar Abdullah and Rahul Gandhi also interacted with a group of women from Lar, Khan Sahib, Basholi and Chenani blocks in the state who had just returned from a visit to Andhra Pradesh to observe the success of UMEED.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said Saturday that holistic development of society was not possible without the active participation of women.

Gandhi said Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra developed because once women there were empowered, they actively participated in development programmes.

Rahul Gandhi, along with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday launched the UMEED programmme for the empowerment of women in central Badgam district of the Valley.

The Congress leader said the union government had sanctioned Rs.750 crore under UMEED to the state to organise self-help groups of women for addressing their economic challenges and curb social evils like drug addiction and female foeticide.

In Amethi parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, which he represents, Rahul Gandhi said that the UMEED initiative had gone a long way in making women confident and enabling them to stand on their own feet.

Rahul Gandhi said that he had visited Jammu and Kashmir last year and met youth at Kashmir University, and invited them to visit Amethi and see the benefits that women received from the UMEED, just so a similar one could be taken up in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said after visiting Amethi, the young people of the state had expressed the view that UMEED would be good for Jammu and Kashmir too.

“I took Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with me to Amethi so that he could also take a view of the success of this programme”, he said, adding that the trip had culminated in the launch of UMEED in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We can provide help, but you have to work yourselves to achieve the goals of welfare, social justice and development”, he said.

Omar Abdullah, speaking on the occasioin, underlined the role of women in curbing female infanticide and drug addiction.

The chief minister said the empowerment of women was an area his government would focus on, and it was with this end in view that 33 percent reservation in Panchayat Elections had been introduced for women.

He lauded the women of the state, saying they were participating actively in programmes meant for them, and that the candidates in the seats reserved for women in the panchayat elections demonstrated great courage and enthusiasm.

Omar Abdullah said that if poverty was not as acute a concern in Jammu and Kashmir as in other states like Jharkhand or Chhattisgarh, the credit for it should go to the founder of the National Conference, late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who conferred land ownership rights on farmers, making them owners of the land and eradicating their poverty.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary, and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir Mohan Prakash, and the president of the state Congress committee and MP Saif-ud-Din Soz, and local legislator Aga Ruhulla Mehdi were also present at the function.

Omar Abdullah and Rahul Gandhi also interacted with a group of women from Lar, Khan Sahib, Basholi and Chenani blocks in the state who had just returned from a visit to Andhra Pradesh to observe the success of UMEED.

Under the UMEED programme 90,000 self-help groups linking nine lakh women in 143 blocks covering 4,098rahul gandhi panchayats of the state would be organised in five years to address the concerns that women face in the state, and attempt collectively to improve their economic conditions.

(Source:IANS)


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