Address by Governor at the Annual General Meeting and Awards function of the Ladies’ Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chambe

    Publish Date: June 13, 2016

    Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Annual General Meeting and Awards function of the Ladies’ Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber at Rooftop, Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai at 2 PM on Monday, 13th June 2016

    Smt Amruta Fadnavis, Smt Shalini Piramal, President, Ladies Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Shri Dilip Piramal, President, Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Padmabhushan Smt Rajashree Birla, Smt Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson, State Bank of India, Dr Swati Piramal, Smt Triveni Acharya, Smt Radhika Nath, President – Elect, IMC Ladies Wing, Smt Nayantara Jain, Vice _ President-Elect, other office bearers and members of the IMC Ladies Wing, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen,

    I feel honoured to have been invited to attend the AGM and Awards Presentation function organized by the Ladies Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber.

    I acknowledge the gracious presence of Smt Amruta Fadnavis in our midst. Smt Amruta Fadnavis has remarkably maintained her individuality while making her mark in various fields, be it in banking, in music or in fitness. I was pleased to see her, feature on the cover page of a well-known fashion magazine.

    I find from the history of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber that the Ladies Wing was started in the year 1966 as a forum for creating socio economic awareness and encouraging the spirit of enterprise.

    I congratulate the Ladies’ Wing on the happy occasion of its completion of 50 years of service in the cause of women empowerment.

    I am very happy that the Ladies Wing is honouring some of the most outstanding Women Achievers this year.

    I congratulate Dr Swati Piramal for being selected for the “Woman of the Year Award” in recognition of her exceptional contributions in the field of innovations in new medicines and public health services which have touched the lives of thousands of people.

    Smt Arundhati Bhattacharya has been reckoned among the most powerful women in the world of banking by Forbes. I congratulate her on being presented the IMC Woman of the Year Award for Banking and Financial Service.

    Padmabhushan Smt Rajashree Birla was appointed as the Brand Ambassador of the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan in Maharashtra. Through the Aditya Vikram Birla Group, she has done remarkable work in the areas of eradication of polio, housing for the rural poor and tribal, and empowerment of women. I congratulate her on being conferred the WISE Lifetime Achievement Award by the IMC Ladies Wing.

    I also congratulate Smt Triveni Acharya, Co-Founder of Rescue Foundation for her super-human work of rescuing hundreds of women-victims of human trafficking.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Swami Vivekananda had said, and I quote:

    “The best thermometer to the progress of a nation is its treatment of its women.” “That country and that nation which do not respect women have never become great nor ever will be in future.” (Unquote)

    Even though we are already in the second decade of the 21st Century, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination in many ways and in different forms. Women constitute half the population of our country, and yet they are denied their rightful place in society and in the decision making process.

    Women are often deeply impacted by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, economic crises and lack of development.

    This year, the entire Marathwada region of Maharashtra witnessed perhaps the worst drought of the century. Here again, it was women and girls who were more affected and impacted by drought and water scarcity than their male counterparts. Therefore, sustainable development is critical to empowering women.

    Sustainable development, in turn, is possible when there is social, economic and political empowerment of women.

    However, more needs to be done to increase the share of women in administration, both in government and in the private sector. I firmly believe that more women in government and in the private sector will bring greater transparency in governance and reduce corruption.

    As Chancellor of Universities, I often attend Convocation Ceremonies of universities in the State and give away prizes and medals. In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the Gold Medallists are girl students !! So, given a window of opportunity, women who are natural multi-taskers, have the potential to rise and excel in any field of their choice.

    However, when it comes to job markets, women are missing.

    I will call upon the Ladies Wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber to start coaching classes for young women to prepare them for various competitive examinations like those conducted by banks, insurance, railways, UPSC and MPSC. I am sure this will help increase the percentage of women in administration.

    A survey conducted by an American think tank covering 22000 publicly-traded companies in over 91 countries, showed that companies employing 30 percent and more female executives earn more profits. So it makes sound economic sense, to employ more women and to give them their rightful place on the Governing Boards.

    I was pleased to read a recent news report which stated that the Tata Group is taking up a cross – company mentoring programme to promote 300 women leaders to top executive positions in the group companies.

    Skill Development has been identified as the new Mantra of development. The Ladies Wing of the Chamber must identify a few slums and lower middle class localities and support NGOs conducting skill development programmes for women.

    Secondly, the Ladies Wing should open a Window to guide, advice and encourage women who wish to become entrepreneurs. I want to see women becoming job givers and not just job seekers.

    The various initiatives launched by the Government for financial inclusion, skill development and MUDRA Bank are aimed at empowering our Nari Shakti to contribute to India’s growth. I will ask the Ladies Wing to work closely with the government and help it reach out to the needy women.

    Almost 2 lakh women engaged in beedi-rolling have lost their livelihood because of the closure of beedi making companies. We must step in, and find ways to provide alternate skills to such women so that they become financially self-sufficient.

    The biggest challenge in the task of empowerment of women is the age-old attitude of society towards women. Even today, there is continued preference for the male child and medical termination of the female child. We need sustained efforts to change the perception of society towards women and the girl child. We need renewed commitment to ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Beti Badhao’ abhiyan.

    I assure the IMC Ladies Wing of my full support in all its initiatives aimed at the empowerment of women.

    A change of Guard is taking place at the Ladies Wing today. I would like to congratulate the new President-Elect Ms Radhika Nath and new Vice President-Elect Ms Nayantara Jain who are assuming their charge today.

    Once again, I congratulate the Ladies’ Wing for its sustained good work and wish it continued success in its future endeavours.

    Thank you.

    Jai Hind. Jai Maharashtra.