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Kapil Sibal announces new initiatives for women scientists
National Conference on Showcasing Cutting Edge Science & Technology by Women began in New Delhi today with the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil calling upon women scientists to bring about significant change by working at the grassroot level for women's empowerment. Addressing the gathering which included a large number of women scientists from across the country and young science students at the Vigyan Bhavan, the first woman President of India said that the participation of women in the dynamic field of science is central not only in our efforts for gender equality but also to make women stakeholders of the future construct of the world. She lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Science and Technology in promoting women scientists.
Union Minister for Science and Technology Shri Kapil Sibal who presided over the function pledged to continue with his endeavours to provide a level playing field to women scientists and announced that all DST Aided Institutions would -
· provide flexible working hours for women scientists having children up to the age of 3 years.
· support the construction of women's residential blocks; and
· allocate financial support to establish a state-of-art crèche facility in all institutions.
· And for young women scientists in India who are associates of INSA, there will be provision for a research grant of upto Rs.10 lakhs a year for a period of 5 years.
Shri Kapil Sibal said that recognizing the ground reality of women in science, the Ministry has taken fledgling steps to empower women to have their rightful role in science and technology activities thereby contributing to accelerated national development. As a first step, he said, the Task Force for Women in Science was set up to raise and address issues and problems of women scientists and come up with solutions to enable women scientists and technologists to realize and contribute value of their creative talents to national advantage. He said that nearly 2,000 women scientists have benefited by the Women Scientists Fellowship Scheme that gives women scientists a spectrum of options to choose from depending upon their aptitude, need, age and family situation.
Dr. Girija Vyas, Chairperson, National Commission for Women, in her keynote address, said that Science and Technology has helped India to stand up to the challenges of the modern world. While observing that the atrocities on women are on the rise, she lauded the efforts of the Science and Technology Ministry in the area of Gender Budgeting.
On the occasion which also marked the International Women's day, the Department of Science and Technology conferred the National Award for Women's Development through Application of Science & Technology for the year 2007 to Dr. Rani Bang, SEARCH, Gadchiroli and Dr. K. Vijaya Lakshmi, Development Alternatives, New Delhi and National Women Bio-scientist Award 2007 to Dr. Mitali Mukherjee, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, Dr. Sangita Mukhopadhyay of Centre of DNA Fingure Printing and Diagnostics, Hyderabad and Dr. Sujata Sharma, AIIMS.
Earlier, welcoming the delegates, Dr. Mahtab Bamji, Chairperson of the National Task Force for women in science, called upon fellow women scientists to enthuse young women in science to continue their work.
Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology proposed the vote of thanks.
The two-day conference has been organized by the Department of Science and Technology at the initiative of the National Task Force for Women in Science. The main purpose of the Conference is to provide an opportunity to women scientists to present their work in select areas such as biology of infectious diseases, advances in non-communicable diseases, aerospace and defence technologies, climate change, nanotechnology and nano-materials and plant biotechnology.
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