Kathmandu June 24:
Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Parbat Gurung, has said the ministry was continuously monitoring the condition of senior citizens in the COVID-19 lockdown. “We’re aware that no citizen faces condition of death due to hunger. In case of the information about anyone in dire need, we’re providing assistance immediately.” Minister Gurung said so while talking to National News Agency (RSS) reporters Kalika Khadka and Prakash Silwal at his office in Singha Durbar recently. According to the Minister, eighteen women from remote areas and suffering delivery complication were rescued by bringing them to modern health facility for immediate operation and treatment during the lockdown. “Although the ministry has been continuously working for humanitarian purpose, we’ve not making huge publicity on works,” he said, adding that the ministry was for expanding and strengthening its role. Gurung also viewed that the ministry’s service and programes could be developed as the national pride project. The Minister informed that homework was on to bring an integrated law – the social development act – by merging the National Direction Act, 2028; Social Organizations Act, 2034 and Social Welfare Act, 2039. The new act would bring some positive changes, he argued. According to the Minister, the issues women and children from across the country should be studied well. “We’re making the streets free of children. It is a shared responsibility of local, State and federal governments,” he added. He said 73 such children were rescued from street and taken to children’s home in the the lockdown period. Moreover, Minister Gurung said the ministry was working in collaboration with the organizations working in the social sectors. He was of the view of utilizing skills, knowledge, experiences for the cause of prosperity, passing them onto the new generation. As he said, they deserve respect, atmosphere for social interactions and protection of self-dignity and their stories should not be lost in old age home. The minister insisted on the need of incorporating social development and reform efforts in the projects of national pride to declare the nation as gender-friendly country by eliminating social evil practices such as torture on the charge of witchery, the dowry system, child marriage, girls/women trafficking and violence. Terming the Chhaupadi practice as a social taboo and an attack on women’s dignity, he called for establishing the culture of dignified menstruation by unlearning this harmful practice. It may be noted the Ministry on May 26 held a virtual meeting with representatives from 20 countries on the issue of dignified menstruation. Sharing about the government campaign for men’s alliance to combat the violence against women, he spoke the need of economically empowering women and making them self-sufficient to minimize the cases of violence and create a safe environment for them. He was of the opinion of embracing indigenous knowledge and medical practices. As he said, the government is working on immediate, mid-term and long-term plans to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. According to him, under air rescue programme for pregnant and new mothers, 17 such women were rescued during the crisis. Availability of nutritious food for them is also the concern of the Ministry. As he said, presence of beggars on streets manifest our weaker social aspect as education and development of physical infrastructure were not the indicators of real development and social development should be also the priority. Only signing international treaties including those related to women and children were not sufficient, the achievements depend on our actions and implementation, he asserted.