New Delhi, Jan. 26 (UPI) India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday pushed for the construction of a women’s college in Siam for women across the border.
The development was a significant shift in policy from India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who in 2009 launched a $1.6 billion women’s school in Siauliai.
India has so far only built a few dozen such institutions in rural areas, but has since pledged to build 500.
A similar scheme is under consideration in the Punjab province.
Siauriais women, in turn, have expressed deep concerns about the proposed school, saying it would only serve as a “shoehorn” for a more extensive women’s university.
The government plans to create a new institution for women’s studies at a new university in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan’s most populous province, next year.
The plan has prompted India’s most powerful opposition party to warn that the country will soon become a “women-centred democracy” if it does not take action.
India, which is also home to more than 3 million Pakistani women, plans to build the institution at the behest of the Indian Council of Women’s Associations, a nonprofit group based in Delhi.
India is one of the most patriarchal countries in the world, and has long been criticized for its gender inequality, according to a 2015 UN report.
It also has a large number of women of color, who make up more than half of its population.
The school would be built on the site of a former government-run women’s academy that India closed in the 1960s.
In the past, the government had planned to build more than 2,000 women’s schools across India, according a recent report from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
A spokesperson for the government’s women’s affairs ministry, which manages education, said the government is currently studying the issue and has no further comment.