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NHRC Chairman Justice Balakrishnan deplores gender inequality leads to social discrimination
A two-day National Conference on 'Human Rights of women' organized by the National Human Rights Commission began at Indian International Centre, New Delhi today. Inaugurating the Conference, Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, NHRC said that women should find space in all spheres of life.

There are several laws which have been enacted at different stages to protect the women's rights as and when the society faced new problems and challenges. But, the problem lies in the gender inequality which is rooted in our social system where women have a subordinate role to play. This gender inequality leads to social discrimination.

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The NHRC Chairperson, referred to various issues relating to women's welfare and underlined the importance of gender budgeting and empowerment of women at Panchayat level in all States. He said that women have to push their voice to ensure that non-lapsable thousand crore 'Nirbhaya' Fund could be effectively used to take care of their several problems. He said that it cannot be said for sure that all the States have been able to use the provisions of this Fund to address the concerns of women.

Dr. Syeda Hamid, Member, Planning Commission of India said that the State Human Rights Commissions should take it up with the respective State Governments the issue of utilization of funds meant for women's welfare. She said that declining sex-ratio is a silent demographic disaster. Trafficking of women still looms large. The 12th Plan Document of the Planning Commission recognizes women as engines of growth and also reflects the issues affecting their welfare in a shift from earlier Plan Documents.

A.K. Jain, Secretary, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development spoke about various policy initiatives of the Government promoting and protecting women's welfare. However, he said that there was still a huge gap between the various policy oriented services and the delivery mechanism. 

He said that the government's initiatives needed to be backed-up by all the stakeholders to bear fruits. Role played by traditional courts like Khap Panchayats require careful study and suggestions for seeking corrective action in their functioning.

Jain said that the Government was working towards creating a Single Window System for addressing all issues concerning women's welfare through 'Poorna Shakti Kendra' under the aegis of the Ministry of Women & Child Development. Earlier, Dr. Parvinder Sohi Behuria, Secretary General of the Commission gave an insight into the various initiatives taken by the Commission in addressing the concerns of women's welfare.

Later, addressing the First Technical Session on 'Setting the Agenda on Women's Issues', Dr. Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer and Founder of an NGO, India Vision Foundation, said that a holistic approach was needed for prevention of violence against women and girls as the issue had a very large connotation.

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