The Congress-led UPA government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Women’s Reservation Bill is passed in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan said on Friday. Addressing the International Women’s Day celebrations at the SRM University at Kattankulathur, she said the UPA government, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, was committed to the passage of the Women’s Bill, providing for 33 per cent reservation in Parliament and State Legislatures. ‘ ’The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the Bill is passed in Lok Sabha,’’ she said and added that 10 million women have been doing exceptional work in local bodies across India, and that women knew how to govern the country.Recalling the gangrape death of a paramedical student in a moving bus in New Delhi, the Minister said: “The Centre has suggested setting up of a dedicated women’s helpline ‘181’ across the country to lodge complaints of violence against women.” In a bid to reduce crimes against women, she also suggested an exclusive bus service for women, especially during the night, with adequate interior lighting and and provisions for operation between 7 pm and 7 am with women drivers. Calling for more women in the police force, Jayanthi Natarajan said of the total 16.6 lakh-strong police force, women constituted a mere 13.3 per cent (93,887). ‘’In the north-eastern State of Mizoram, there are no women police personnel at all, whereas in States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the number of women police personnel is more,’’ she said. The Minister added that women were not the weaker sex, they were now working in various fields ranging from construction industry to space research. M Ponnavaikko, Vice Chancellor, SRM University, in his presidential address, said that women were the backbone of society. Awards were given to women achievers from the lower strata. Earlier, N Chandraprabha, Director, Health Sciences, welcomed the gathering.

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