Smriti Irani on Wednesday said three crore women from poor, rural families have been screened for cervical and breast cancer under the Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat health scheme in the last two years. Speaking at an event by the National Commission for Women to celebrate the International Women's Day which was celebrated on Sunday, Smriti Irani said the figure shows that the women who earlier would have not even spoken about the disease now know that they have the government's support and are getting themselves screened.
"In the past two years, under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana alone, three crore women from poor and rural families got themselves screened for cervical and breast cancer. It means the woman who would have never spoken about the diseases now have support from the government and she utilised the policy and under that she got herself screened, which means she is prepared for a medical challenge and she has prepared herself for solutions," the union minister said.
Ms Irani lauded various efforts by the government to tackle issues faced by women, giving examples of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiatives to build 10 crore toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission and distribute sanitary napkins at Re 1 under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra scheme.
"Today, when we see more and more men talk about women safety and health, that is an indication that together as a society, together as a nation we are working towards equality," she said.
"I do not here prescribe that we will not be met with challenges but I can affirm that on that path of challenges we will not walk alone. "Today is a day when you celebrate men who have walked shoulder to shoulder with women and to them I say ''march on'' because it is together that we will build just, inclusive and equitable society," she said, talking about the theme of the event which was ''men for women''.
Union Secretary for the Women and Child Development Ministry, Ram Mohan Mishra said the government is working towards developing ''Mission Shakti'' for women's empowerment.