Modi also questioned the UPA government's commitment to the cause of women's empowerment, saying that the Nirbhaya Fund which it had started with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore following the Delhi gang-rape case, remained unused in the last financial year.

Quoting a media report, he said that the '181' helpline it had started has also stopped working as employees running it are not being paid.

The said helpline, however, has been reportedly revived after government cleared the salary arrears.

"It shows how insensitive, unserious they are. Intention is more important than laws," he said during an interaction on the occasion of International Women's Day as part of BJP's 'Chai pe Charcha' outreach campaign.

In the nearly two-hour interaction, which connected women in 1,500 locations across the country, Modi took questions and suggestions from women's groups via video-link.

He said his dream was to have an India by 2022 where every family has a home with power, water and accessible education facilities for their children. The country will celebrate 75 years of independence in 2022.

"Time has come when we all should think what kind of India we want to have in 2022... If we start this project (housing), imagine how much positive impact it will have on jobs, education and health of people. When I get the chance to serve the country, which I will with your blessings, I will start it," he said.

Reaching out to them, Modi said that if they came together for the elections, then no vote bank would work. "If you take a decision, no other vote bank will be of any use. More effective the role you play in the polls, the better it is for the country."

Modi said there was a need to pass the Women's Reservation Bill, but averred that the need was for going beyond laws by making women partners in the decision-making process. Women should be empowered right from birth, he said.

Joined at the BJP headquarters by many women achievers, including former IPS officer Kiran Bedi and former Indian women's cricket team captain Ajum Chopra, Modi said he found it strange and felt sad when people blamed all sorts of things, including women's clothes, for cases of assault on them.

The blame must stop at men and all of them should feel embarrassed over such acts, he said. He said more women should be recruited in police.

"There must be no compromise on some issues. It includes their (women's) right to take birth, get education, healthcare, decide their age of marriage, how many kids they want and when and the right to pursue their career," he said.

The biggest problem women face is discrimination, Modi said, adding that it begins at their birth and is visible in parents' mindset about providing better education and healthcare to boys and not girls.

"We will have to work in mission mode for education of girls. There should be separate toilets for them in all schools. We may start online education facilities for women above 40 (years). Modern technology should be used to empower women in villages," he said.

If the government can provide electricity and water to homes in all villages, that would hugely empower women as, for many of them, life is all about fetching water from far and working in smoke-filled kitchens.

Asked what he had personally done for women, Modi said he had taken a decision to auction all the presents he receives, the proceeds from which would go towards the education of girls, which was in a poor state in Gujarat when he took over as the Chief Minister.

"All CMs before me deposited 200-250 gifts with the government. I alone have submitted 3,000-4,000 gifts, which have fetched Rs 70 crore so far," he said.

(Agencies)

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