"Efforts are on to combat malnutrition and steps are being taken up to ensure that good hygiene practices are observed (by people)," Modi said in his message to the MS University's Faculty of Social Work on the opening day of the two-day international conference on women and millennium development goals here.

A CAG report last year had said 66 percent of children in Gujarat are underweight. However, the state government countered the report claiming that this figure has declined to less than 26 percent in 2013 due to various steps taken by the state dispensation.

Minister of State for Higher Education Vasuben Trivedi inaugurated the conference on Thursday.

In his letter to organizers, Modi wrote, "The state is addressing various areas of education, health services, quality care, especially for girl child and pregnant mother, through pro-active governance".

The conference is first of its kind in the history of 64-year-old faculty, and is probably the first by its nature on a topical issue in Gujarat.

Delegates from countries like US, UK, Australia, and Sri Lanka, besides around 350 delegates from various states and UTs in India are attending the conference.

Modi in his message observed that showing respect to women is the novel feature of Indian culture. "Worshipping women in the form of 'shakti  swarupa' is our culture...With the goal of all round development, the state government has focused on the area of human development since last decade".

(Agencies)

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