President gives Stree Shakti awards on International Women's Day

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Friday presented the Stree Shakti Puruskar for 2012 on International Women's Day while thanking women for their contribution in the making of India.

"I take this opportunity to extend warm greetings to women in all parts of our country. I thank them for their invaluable contribution in the making of our great nation," the president told the awardees.

The mother of the Dec 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape victim who succumbed to her injuries, was given the Rani Lakshmi Bai Award for "the spirit of Nirbhaya", nickname for the girl. "Nirbhaya, as she is now known, was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women," Mukherjee said.

He added: "Her sad demise should not be in vain. We must do everything possible to ensure that such an incident never happens again."

Others who received the award were Pranita Talukdar of Assam, Sonika Agarwal of Delhi, Guramma H. Sankina of Karnataka, Omana T.K. of Kerala and Olga D'Mello of Maharashtra.

The president said: "We must strive to ensure that women feel safe and secure at all times in our country."

"The figure for female literacy is 16.7 percent below male literacy. Surveys have indicated that female hourly wage rates in agriculture vary from 50 to 75 percent of the male wage rates. More disturbing is the increase in the incidence of violence against women," he said.