Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it is a “sad reality” that women in India face discrimination at home and workplace and their empowerment remains a distant goal.
“We had a woman President and now have a woman Speaker of Lok Sabha, a woman leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and two women chief ministers.”The President of the largest and oldest political party in India is also a distinguished woman leader who we are privileged to have in our midst. A recent global top 50 businesswomen survey included four Indian women.
“However, all this does not reflect the average reality of women in our country. The sad reality is that women in India face discrimination and hardship at home, school, at their places of work and in public places,” he said, speaking at the inaugural function of India’s first all-women bank — Bharatiya Mahila Bank, here.
“Women’s social, economic and political empowerment remains a distant goal,” he said.”We have gathered here to witness the beginning of a unique new institution,” Singh said, adding, “the bank will provide financial services predominantly to women and women self-help groups.”
“I compliment my friend and colleague Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his team for conceiving the bank and making it a reality within a very short period,” he said.”It is befitting that the bank is being inaugurated on the birth anniversary of the great woman of our country Indira Gandhi, among the tallest leaders our country has produced. She was a source of inspiration for all of us,” he said.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Chidambaram and Union ministers Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Praful Patel were among those present.