Resistance to change that happened in the past are disappearing and Indian economy today is more open and its future would be driven by ideas, knowledge and depth of innovation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.
Speaking at 33rd Annual Session of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) on Friday, where he released a Gender Parity Index tool kit, Jaitley said India is still lagging behind on the issues of gender parity, but the country is willing to embrace reforms and change mindest to offer an opportunity to correct the picture in the coming years.
A society, which was conventionally loaded against (gender) parity and equality, there has been a conscious attempt to cover up the lags which we must honestly confess.
The Tool Kit can evaluate Gender Diversity & Empowerment of Women in the Formal Sector in India’, he said.
He added that India is now willing to bring reformation to meet the desires of an aspirational society that wants change after the 'fits and start' approach taken up in 1991 liberalisation process.
The opinion making class in India is expanding, he said – adding that it is a powerful layer of the society – the aspirational class. Therefore, the county is willing to change: resistance to change that existed in the past is gone, the nature of economy is changing, social attitudes are going to change, and the gender parity situation is going to change.
Gender inequality is a problem across all professions in India. And it is clear that we have miles to go before we rest.
Vinita Bimbhet, President, FLO, said: “The Gender Parity Index is a ?rst of its kind in India. It measures the extent of gender parity in the formal sector; it is broad and holistic and addresses gender parity at a micro level, in the formal sector: the building blocks of an organised society.
“It is designed to encourage change in the way organisations think and work and in the process provide women with unprecedented opportunities, promote economic empowerment and provide tools to tackle new challenges,” she said.
Earlier Jaitley said judicial views on personal laws need review hoped that the age-old judicial opinion of personal laws need not be in conformity with constitutional rights, would be reviewed shortly.
Jaitley's indirect reference was towards the Muslim personal laws which allow men to divorce women through "triple talaq" utterances. The NDA Government recently told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the practice of Triple Talaq and polygamy are not in conformity with the social status and dignity of Muslim women and deprives them of their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The government reiterated its earlier stand that practices such as divorcing women by mere utterance of 'talaq' (divorce) thrice render Muslim women "unequal and vulnerable" as compared to men of their community as well as women belonging to other communities.
He said, “2017 will be extremely different on the issue of personal laws. In fact, there was a very surprising judicial opinion at that time and that’s a judicial opinion that still holds up. When all laws must confine to the Constitutional rights themselves, personal laws need not. Because they were laws not for that purpose, so they were excluded."
Jaitley’s views come at a time when a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a host of petitions challenging if personal laws like triple talaq and polygamy violate the Constitutional rights of the Muslim women.
Referring indirectly to the earlier court rulings over the controversial issue on same, the Minister said, “Very surprising judicial opinion" of that time was personal laws which need not confine to constitutional rights because they are not laws for that purpose, so they were excluded. This was the state of mind which dictated the public discourse, judicial discourse, but I am sure 2017 and the area or ages that we have gone through in order to reach this, are going to be extremely different."