Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president and former Union minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday recalled resistance he faced from certain quarters while implementing decisions related to women empowerment, including inducting female officers into the armed forces, but said when an administrator is strong policies get eventually executed.
The veteran parliamentarian held key portfolios of defence (1991-1993) and agriculture (2004-14) as a Union minister and also served as chief minister of Maharashtra four times during his decades-long political career.
Pawar recalled that as defence minister when he visited the United States, he was given a guard of honour by an all-woman contingent of the American armed forces.
When he returned home, Pawar discussed the idea of inducting women into the armed forces with all the three services chiefs, but faced opposition to his proposal.
“I again brought this (induction of women) issue (with them) for discussion one or two months later and received the same answer. After four to five months I told them (services chiefs) 'the people have elected me as the defence minister and it is my job to take a decision and your job is to implement it'. From next month, women should get 11 per cent reservation,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha member was speaking at an event organised by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women on the occasion of International Women's Day.
Pawar said after two years he sought a report on induction of women officers into the armed forces and it was brought to his notice that accidents involving aircraft have come down and attributed this drop to the caution displayed by female pilots.
“When an administrator is strong then decisions are implemented,” added the NCP leader.
Pawar said while serving as chief minister of Maharashtra, he chose to handle the women and child welfare department instead of crucial portfolios like the home which changed people's perspective about his administration.
Pawar said many decisions taken by him while in government were not appreciated by his male colleagues, including his move to give equal share in family property to women.
The former CM, however, asserted that despite facing opposition, he went ahead with decisions that empowered women.
-With PTI Input