The Central Hall of the
Parliament witnessed a historic event on 25th of July 2007 when Smt.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil took oath as the ﬁrst woman President of India.
Five years later, when she demits office and hands over the baton to
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Smt Patil has wished to be remembered as the
President who worked for the welfare of the people.
Her official functions and ceremonial obligations aside, Smt. Patil
stressed on empowerment of women, at every appropriate occasion she got.
In her several speeches she remarked ““Men and women are two wheels of a
chariot. If one wheel is weak then the chariot ﬁnds it difﬁcult to move;
so will the family, society and the nation. If the chariot has to move
smoothly and progress in the right direction both the wheels have be to
equal and should move together in perfect harmony”.
Empowerment of women was a subject very dear to the first woman
President of India. As early as in February 2008, the President decided
to have detailed discussions on different schemes for gender equality so
as to bring about convergence. She emphasized that effective convergence
of schemes run by various Ministries and Departments at the grassroots
level was the only way to avoid duplication of efforts, and to ensure
greater impact on stakeholders.
In keeping with her desire to empower women, the President set up a
Committee of Governors to study and recommend strategies for speedy
socio-economic development and empowerment of women. This endeavour of
the President bore fruit resulting in the creation of the National
Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) on March 8, 2010 by the
Government of India, with the Ministry of Women and Child Development as
its nodal agency.
The report of the Committee of Governors in February, 2009 also made
recommendations for restructuring the Rashtriya Mahila Kosh into a
Development Bank to enable it to function as a single window facilitator
for Women’s Self Help Groups. The restructuring and expansion of the
Rashtriya Mahila Kosh has been taken up by the Government on priority.
President Patil never missed an opportunity to applaud the achievements
of girls during her numerous interactions with students over the past
five years,. She always took note of the higher number of medal winning
girl students, and made it a point to encourage them to attain new
heights in their professional career.
Roshni – the Green Initiative
President Patil will also be remembered for conceiving and launching
Roshni – the first comprehensive Environment Management Initiative at
the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Roshni is aimed at making the
President’s Estate a green and environment friendly habitat in which
good practices of conservation and efﬁcient use of energy are
One of the major achievements of Roshni has been setting up of 5 Self
Help Groups within the President’s Estate where women are making vermi-compost,
organic compost, paper bags and envelopes, masala grinding, etc. These
Self Help Groups have not only empowered these women economically but
have also enhanced their self esteem. Similarly, setting up of – a
crèche, named Sopan for children of casual labourers working in
Rashtrapati Bhavan, has enabled these children to get nutritious meals
and basic education while their mothers work to earn their livelihood.
Following the launch of Roshni, the President’s Estate became the ﬁrst
Urban Habitat to be awarded the “ISO 14001:2004 Certiﬁcation”, for its
Environment Management System.
Smt Patil attempted to universalize the Roshni model of environment
management by prodding the Raj Bhavan’s in state capitals to make
similar endeavours. She also a chaired a seminar on “Universalization of
Roshni- a Green Innovation for Sustainable Urban Habitat” at the
Rashtrapati Bhavan in February 2011. This one day Workshop was aimed at
inspiring various gated communities like IIMs, IITs, PSUs, Defence
Establishments, etc. to adopt similar environment related projects in
People are welcome
Smt.Pratibha Devisingh Patil, will also be remembered for opening up
the gardens of the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad to public viewing,
on the lines of Mughal Gardens in New Delhi. Similarly, the public got
an opportunity to view the traditional Change of Guard Ceremony at the
Rashtrapati Bhavan every Satrurday, which has since become a major
tourist attraction in the national capital.
Source: Glimpses of Presidency, Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi
PIB Mumbai /MD/SB