Pune: "We have to recognise the key role of women in every aspect of life. I am a feminist and I support equal rights for women" said Aditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism and Environment, Government of Maharashtra.
Asked about reservations for women, he said, "More than my personal opinion, there needs to be a larger debate in society. However, we need to put in efforts to listen to those whose voices are not heard, whether it's a man, woman or a child. We must try our best to create a society where one would not even need a letter of recommendation. While it may take us an entire generation to do that, we have have to work on equal access and opportunities"
He was speaking at an online discussion organized by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), Pune Chapter in presence of Jahnabi Pookhan, National President, FLO, Aneeta Sanas, Chairperson, FLO Pune Chapter, Dr Bhagyashree Patil, Vice Chairman, Dr D.Y.Patil Unitech Society and Varsha Chordia of Panchsheel group among other members of FLO.
"For sustainable livelihood development of people in Maharashtra, organizations like FICCI should collaborate with the government to implement schemes and policies and reach out to people. We have to commit ourselves and abolish prejudice in the name of caste, religion and culture. Education is the only way to do it," Thackeray said.
While speaking on handling the current COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters like the Cyclone Nisarga, Thackeray said that it was necessary to keep calm and carry on while understanding the situation, as this is for the first time that the world is experiencing such a thing.
"We have to make available more beds, oxygen support and ventilators and make ready all medical needs till the vaccine for Corona is found. Also, we were lucky while dealing with Cyclone Nisarga, as it caused minimum damage to the life due to the precautions taken by the government" he said.
As the state government has received the flak while handling the migrant issue, Thackeray said that his government has done everything it could to help the migrants. "We set up multiple migrant camps in Maharashtra where about 6.5 lakh people were accommodated and were provided with meals and medical attention. The decision for the lockdown was not easy and it required lots of planning. We've spend more than ₹90 crores on paying for shramik trains, which ideally should be paid for by the railways ministry" he said.
While addressing environmental issues, Thackeray said that with the current lockdown, the state has seen lots of positive changes in the environment. "We want to aim to make Pune Carbon Neutral by 2030, along with efforts on other cities as well, and for that we have to act and move forward. The Indian civilisation began with worshipping the elements of nature. This is what gives me hope that India will lead the way in fighting climate change crisis."
When asked about resurrection of tourism in the state, Thackeray said, that since Maharashtra is a unique place with various landscapes, hills, beaches and forts and people from different background, culture and dialects, it is necessary to boost tourism here.
"Unfortunately, tourism in Maharashtra is considered as unimportant and underrated and we have to change that mindset. We want to revive tourism and involve more students and young urban townplanners," he stated.
"There needs to be more tourist attractions in the state that are enjoyable, livable and sustainable. We want to train and involve rural women in state tourism and for that we'll sign an MOU with the ministry of tourism and take it forward," said Jahnabi Pookhan.