Indian PM Narendra Modi Vows To Eliminate Gender Violence – Finally!

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In may 2014 history was made in India: almost 550 million people voted in a new Prime Minister, making it the largest election the world has ever seen. With India having the second highest population in the world, it’s no wonder it made history. The voter turnout is a little glimpse into the lives of the Indian citizens and how desperate they are for drastic changes in the country.

Newly elected PM Narendra Modi, who is the leader of the Bharatiya Janat party, is that “knight in shining armor” so to speak. He went head to head with Rahul Gandhi, the great grandson of Gandhi, so it wasn’t going to be an easy fight. However, Narendra’s humble beginnings and the types of things he wants to implement allowed him to win the election. he used to sell tea on the side of a railway with his father, and today he is the leader of the very country he grew up in. Talk about a rags to riches story that is no doubt already a source of inspiration for many.

One of the main things Narendra wants to do is make sure every Indian person has a toilet inside their house by the year 2022. Sounds ridiculous but in a country where pollution and diseases have a direct correlation with the bad sanitation infrastructure, this is a good thing. Almost half of India’s 1.25 billion people currently defecate in the open. For reasons of modesty, women do not use the fields for toilets until it is dark, making them vulnerable to assault.

With the horrific story of a young girl being gang raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012, and more recently the gang rape and hanging of two teen girls, there has been relentless pressure from the Indian people on the government for them to act and clean up the law.

Now he is stepping things up and really listening to his citizens and is vowing to take action on this issue of violence against women. Together with the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, he is working on new policies what will protect women from being raped or assaulted, and will also allow for perpetrators to be brought to justice by better laws.

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As it stands at the moment, if a husband rapes his wife, there is no law to protect the woman and prosecute her husband…because they are married. Apparently the government missed the memo that rape also happens in relationships…

“The government will have a policy of zero tolerance for violence against women, and will strengthen the criminal justice system for its effective implementation,” the president told a joint sitting of parliament.

Thanks to the tens of thousands of Indian women and men who have been protesting all over the country, they are telling their leaders they will not keep silent until there are specific directives from up high to change the laws.

“You need to communicate the zero-tolerance message to every Indian to have real change and that starts at the top,” said Ranjana Kumari, an Indian political analyst and campaigner.

Indian government statistics show 244,270 offenses against women reported to the police in 2012. But campaigners say that this, a 6% rise on 2011, is only a small fraction of the total of such crimes. “We will watch and wait. There have been so many such statements with good intent, but how do we achieve these things,” said Kumari. A rape occurs every 22 minutes, according to Indian government figures.

The president said the government was also committed to reserving 33% of seats in parliament and state assemblies for women, reaffirming a pledge made by previous national governments. That is a big statement to make and to promise, but if it is followed through we could see some major changes go into effect in India over the next few years and while Narendra Modi is Prime Minister, as his government is responsible for carrying out the directives made by the president.

It brings up the question, why doesn’t every country in the world have a % rule of women in government? Sure it shouldn’t have to be regulated like that, but at the moment America women only make up %18 of federal government, where as Rwanda (which also has a law about a minimum % of women in government) currently boasts a whopping 64%, making this third world country the front runner when it comes to females in elected positions.

The government will also seek to improve education for girls in patriarchal India and end female foeticide, which though outlawed is still practiced in a country that favors boys over girls.

We highly recommend you all follow Narendra Modi on twitter, seriously! This guy rocks, and certainly knows his way around social media. He has been using his account to sing the praises of men and women in his country, including newly elected female speaker of the house Sumitra Mahajan who also made history by becoming only the second woman in India to take up this position. Sumitra is also the longest-serving female MP in India, making her somewhat of a trailblazer for other Indian women.

 

“It is a matter of pride for all of us that a woman is at the helm of the temple of world’s largest democracy and we hope that her guidance would help us in the smooth conduct of the House,” Narendra Modi said.

You guys, this is HUGE news! And a quick search on Google about the zero tolerance mandate showed that most of the news outlets who covered it were based out of India. It’s sad when then mainstream international media fights tooth and nail to get pictures and exclusives of the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wedding, yet when a real issue that shows progress in a country crying out for change, it doesn’t seem to register. Sad.

Aside from the zero tolerance and gender violence issues, and sanitation issues he will tackle, Narendra Modi will also be working on greater government infrastructure, foreign policy, domestic security, healthcare, and creating jobs.

Here’s to a Prime Minister who made history by being elected, and who will hopefully continue to make history with how he changes the country.

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