The State Government will soon launch ‘Women Helpline’ number 181 for ensuring safety of women, said Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh while addressing the state level function to celebrate the International Women day, organised by department of Social Justice and Empowerment here today. Violence against women was an affront to the foundations of human rights, human decency and human dignity, he said adding that the State government was committed to put an end to it. The Chief Minister said that 20 percent posts of women constables and sub inspectors had been mandated in police force and at present there were five women Police stations besides four anti-trafficking units comprising of women police force at Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaur and Kangra. He said women were the pillars of the society and they need the skills and confidence to influence the decisions that directly affect their lives through direct participation in government and the security sector. He said that even the State Women Commission and Nari Seva Sadan were working efficiently for ensuring security and justice to the women folk. The Chief Minister said that ‘Muskaan’, an initiative of the State government was started to improve the sex ratio and no doubt, the scheme had created wonders. He said that the state government’s ‘Beti-Bachao, Beti-Padao’ scheme was being successfully implemented to keep a check on female foeticide. The State government was strictly implementing the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Act, (PNDT), Act and anyone found involved in pre-diagnosing practice, would be severely dealt with as per provision of the Act, he said. Shri Virbhadra Singh said that as of today women were equal to their male counterparts in all spheres and to further strengthen them the State Government had implemented various schemes including ‘Mukhya Mantri Kanyadaan Yojna’ in which the financial assistance had been enhanced to Rs 40,000 for marriage of poor girl child. Under widow remarriage Scheme, an incentive of Rs.50,000 was being given. Besides, ‘Mother Teresa Asahaya Matri Sambal Yojna’, ‘Mata Shabri Mahila Shasaktikaran, schemes were also being implemented to financially assist the poor women. He said that 50 percent reservation was being given to women in Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Bodies besides many other innovative schemes had been introduced for benefit and empowerment of women. He also launched a book titled ‘Himachal Ki Muskan’ and another on achievements of the department. The Chief Minister also honoured the women on the occasion who have excelled in various fields. An animation film, ‘Muskan’, which is an initiative of Smt. Mansi Sahai Thakur, Director, Social Justice and Empowerment department was also screened on the occasion and was highly appreciated by the Chief Minister. Smt. Mansi Sahai Thakur took an initiative for making of film while posted as Deputy Commissioner, Bilaspur. The ACC, Cement Company also contributed in making of the film. Earlier, Principal Secretary, SJ&E, Smt. Anuradha Thakur said that the infant mortality rate which was around 42 percent had dropped to 28 percent at present. She attributed the decrease in infant mortality rate to the Anganwadi workers and health workers who immensely created the awareness and worked hard at the ground level. Smt. Mansi Sahai Thakur detailed about the schemes of the department and the future initiatives for empowering the women and children. Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Smt. Vidya Stokes, Social Justice & Empowerment, Minister, Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil, Mayor, Shri Sanjay Chauhan, Chairperson, Shimla Zila Parishad, Smt. Dharmila Harnot, Chairperson, State Women Commission, Smt. Janeb Chandel, Chairperson, Commission for protection of Child Rights, Ms. Kiran Dhanta, were also present on the occasion amongst others.