LAHORE – The Punjab Planning & Development Department with the technical assistance of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has undertaken various initiatives to empower womenfolk and bring them to the mainstream of developmental activities of province.

This was stated by Arif Anwer Baloch, Chief Economist Punjab while addressing a media workshop on Gender Responsive Budgeting here at a local hotel.

Among those who participated in the workshop were Khalid Sultan Chief of Section P&D and Muhammad Zaman Wattoo, Provincial Project Manager, SPRSM Project UNDP.

Arif Anwer Baloch, in his keynote address, said that without empowering the womenfolk in a meaningful way, no nation could make progress in a real manner. He said that Islam provides us a complete code of life and gives guidance in all the spheres of life. We should get inspiration from the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who gave the women their due rights. Islam gave them an exalted position.

He said that gender responsive budgeting was the need of the hour as without taking into account the needs of women and men separately, optimum utilisation of budgets could not be made and fruits of development cannot not be equitably distributed among various segments of society.

He further informed the participants that Punjab Government had made sizeable allocations for the welfare of women so that they could be brought at par with men in every walk of life especially in spheres where they were lagging behind men.

Earlier, Provincial Project Manager, SPRSM UNDP, Muhammad Zaman Wattoo briefed about the project Strengthening Poverty Reduction Strategy Monitoring. The project, he said, was started in the year 2008. It has two core functions viz-a-viz provision of technical assistance to the Punjab Government in building institutional capacity for monitoring of pro-poor strategies and gender responsive budgeting. Under its gender responsive budgeting component, the project was building capacity of government officials and civil society in gender responsive budgeting. Besides, awareness raising workshops were also held for the parliamentarians.