Priyanka Vadra, who is now ‘connecting’ with voters in the run-up to the UP assembly elections, discredited important schemes of the Modi government such as LPG cylinders replacing the traditional chulha and construction of toilets among others that have improved the living standards of women, particularly in rural areas.
“Empowerment does not mean a gas cylinder or a toilet. It means self-reliance. Women should be able to decide their own priorities, make their own life, and be able to fight against all exploitation,” Vadra opined while speaking to women in Rae Bareli. This indeed shows how disconnected both she and her brother are from ground realities.
The National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS) highlighted the fact that women are leading better lives and are more empowered than they were in 2015-16. The number of women holding and using a savings bank account has also significantly risen. The survey also brought out the fact that women facing domestic violence or sexual violence before the age of 18 have declined among the surveyed 18-25 years olds.
Reports indicate that the benefits derived from central schemes such as the Ujjwala Yojna and the Swacch Bharat Mission have percolated down to the ground helping common people derive the benefits and improve their standard of living as well as the quality of health. For the Gandhis, these schemes may appear insignificant but are a blessing for rural women whose daily life was fraught with numerous dangers.
Ujjwala Yojana is the government’s most lauded and esteemed scheme for women’s development in the country. In Bharat, the everyday basic activity of cooking is fraught with danger for millions of women. The problem was severe for crores of women across the nation and PM Modi understood the critical aspect and took the lead in its resolve by launching Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana in May way in 2016, an integrated program to distribute better and less polluting – LPG cylinders to women across the nation.
Another major scheme of government ensuring the larger betterment of women was Swachh Bharat Mission. The scheme, though focusing on maintaining cleanliness and making Bharat open defecation free (ODF), helped millions of women, especially of the rural Bharat.
The government constructed crores of toilets for previously toilet-less households in the country. Construction of toilets in the poor households freed women from the catastrophic chain of open defecation ensuring better living standards for them. Apart from that, millions of women got jobs as sweepers and cleaners in major cities with decent pay improving their financial stability and social security.
As far as making women self-reliant is concerned, the Modi government has brought in several schemes that have been transforming lives. Vadra also defended Rahul Gandhi’s views on Hindu Dharma and Hindutva and said “What did he say? He is simply pointing out the difference. Hinduism teaches love and unity which is a fact. RSS and BJP are not on the path of righteousness”. For the brother-sister duo, Hindu Dharma begins and ends with temple runs during election time.
Priyanka Vadra and Rahul Gandhi would do well to ensure women’s empowerment in states where their party is in power rather than discrediting schemes that are actually benefiting the common citizens.