Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh says empowering women in workforce will drive India’s economic recovery further
New Delhi: To achieve higher growth rates of 9-10% and more, women who constitute 48% of the country’s population must participate in the work force, said Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Union MoS (I/C) for MOSPI and Planning and Union MoS for Corporate Affairs here today.
Shri Singh was speaking at “She Inspiring Change: Contributing to Smart, Sustainable & Inclusive Growth”, a national virtual summit organised by IICA, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, along with ASSOCHAM, in celebration of the commemoration of 75 years of India’s Independence with the initiative Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM).
Shri Singh highlighted government initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, UJJWALA Yojana, One Stop Centre Scheme to mainstream and empower women.
The Minister stated that there is still a long way to cover with 79% of the women still out of the labour force. With labour force participation rate of 21%, the working women in India are half of the global average of 47%. The studies have shown that India could add $770 billion to its GDP by 2025 simply by giving equal opportunities to women.
Various initiatives are being taken in the “new India” to enable more women-owned businesses across the country. NITI Aayog’s Women Entrepreneurship Platform is one such initiative providing an ecosystem for upcoming young women entrepreneurs across the country.
Shri Singh said that with various growth estimates suggesting that the Indian economy will grow in 2021 and 2022, this momentum reflects the resilience of Indian economy.
Shri Singh underlined ‘Technology, Data and Innovation’ as the key enablers and drivers of growth and the pandemic has only further manifested its importance worldwide. The Government of India is committed towards working with young and innovative entrepreneurs in the private sector to establish India as a tech-garage of the world and a leading smart nation. With third largest start up ecosystem in the World, India has the potential to become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, analytics and other forms of “digital” transformation.
The Atal Innovation Mission is playing an instrumental role in relentlessly promoting an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. There are at present 9200 Atal Tinkering Labs and 68 Atal Community Innovation Centres across States and Union Territories to foster innovation and support start-ups and businesses, highlighted Shri Singh.
Shri Manoj Pandey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India & DG & CEO, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs said that India’s commitment towards inclusive and responsible growth is also reflected by its resolve to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its targets by 2030. The core SDG principle of “Leave No One Behind” resonates with the essence of our development agenda of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, inclusive development of all with the trust of all. The SDGs also aim to empower women and girls and achieve gender equality. To promote empowerment of women all forms of discrimination against women must end, they must have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national law.
Ms. Preeti Malhotra, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM National Council for Corporate Affairs, Company Law and Corporate Governance Chairman, Smart Bharat Group & Past President, ICSI, appreciated the prompt support given to industry by the MCA during the COVDI-19 pandemic. Ms Malhotra emphasized that women participation in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) industries as well – AI and machine learning are going to re-define future and it is absolutely crucial that there are more women data scientists, researchers, AI developers to ensure that the machines of tomorrow are also free of any gender bias.
Mr Kelvin Sergeant, Sustainable Enterprise Development Specialist with ILO’s Decent Work Team South Asia, said the ILO in India is already supporting the entrepreneurship programmes of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; States and UN agencies to improve outreach and success rate of start-ups. ILO’s Start and Improve Your Business or SIYB training, a key initiative in this regard, trained 10,000 youths, especially women during the pandemic, who have been economically mainstreamed and integrated in the value chain.
CA (Dr) Ashok Haldia, Chairman Board of IIIP of ICAI; Padma Shri Ms. Usha Uthup Social Activist and Renowned Bollywood Singer; CS Deshpande Devendra Vasant, Vice President, ICSI; Ms. Avani Lekhara, First Indian Woman to Win Two Paralympic Medals in Tokyo, 2020; Mr. Rajan Johri, Chairperson, Skill Development Delhi Management Association and Mento TDP Global and MD Leadwynn and Dr. Bhavna Chhabra, Professor, IBS and Managing Editor, Samvad, were some prominent speakers during the conference.
Dr Lata Suresh, Head- Knowledge Resource Centre – IICA, was the Nodal Officer AKAM and also the organizer for this event.