Shekhar Mehta is the fourth Indian in 115 years to take office as the president of Rotary International. The main focus of Rotary under his tenure would be on empowering girl children globally by providing them access to education.
Adult literacy in India currently stands at 74 per cent and further improving this indicator will be one of Rotary’s key priorities in the coming years, said Shekhar Mehta, president of Rotary International.
“Rotary clubs in India can play a pivotal role in actively contributing to the government’s efforts of achieving total literacy in India. We aim to make India 95-100 per cent literate by 2027,” Mehta said during a press conference held at JW Marriott, Pune. He was in Pune for the ceremony to appoint Pankaj Shah as the governor of Rotary International District 3131.
Shekhar Mehta is the fourth Indian in 115 years to take office as the president of Rotary International, leading 1.2 million Rotary members globally.
“Just like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which has brought tremendous change in public health, we have to focus on ‘Sakshar Bharat’ to improve the literacy rate,” said Mehta who has conceptualised a nationwide literacy programme TEACH reaching out to more than 50,000 schools and 15 million children with the help of central and state governments.
According to Mehta, the main focus of Rotary under his tenure would be on empowering girl children globally by providing them access to education and resources.
“Girls and women worldwide face inequities in areas including health and education and experience significant violence and disproportionate poverty. We want to encourage clubs and districts to prioritize projects that improve the health, well-being, education, and economic security of girls in their communities and around the world,” he added.
With the emphasis on environmental and water conservation, Rotary also has plans to construct 1 lakh dams and rejuvenate 1 lakh water bodies across India in coming years while setting up plastic-bottle crushing stations and carrying out plantation drives across the country. “We also want to ensure that 1,000 villages in India get access to pure tap water,” he added.
In the last year, Mehta has been actively involved in strengthening Rotary’s response to Covid-19 in India. Under his guidance, Rotary clubs across India are working with local governments and authorities to boost the vaccination rollout and delivery along with providing infrastructural support to hospitals and Covid-19 care facilities.
“Rotary has achieved a 99.9 per cent reduction in polio cases since spearheading the initiative more than 30 years ago but we need more steps and awareness to tackle Covid, as there has been a hesitancy in taking the vaccine in villages. The awareness needs to be on a large scale,” he said.
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