The announcement was made by the minister at a press conference on the completion of 100 days of her ministry here.
“I am very happy to announce that the new chairman of NCW is Lalitha Kumaramangalam,” she said.
Chennai-based Kumaramangalam is the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a member of the party’s national executive.
“I am glad to be given an opportunity to work for the women, with the women,” Kumaramangalam told IANS.
Gandhi added: “She comes from Tamil Nadu. She has a very illustrious lineage, she is (former union minister) Mohan Kumaramangalam’s daughter.”
Asked about her affiliation with the BJP, the minister said “Miss Mangalam does have affiliations in the sense that she has stood for elections twice, but that’s about it.”
She also runs an NGO named “Prakriti”.
Maneka Gandhi, who had earlier advocated for having a retired judge as the NCW chief, said any decision on it is “in the limbo”.
Asked why Kumaramangalam was appointed commission chief, the misniter said: “She is very strong and forceful regarding advocacy for women. She would be an asset for the commission.”
Kumaramangalam, meanwhile, said she was glad to be given the role and would mainstream gender issues.
“I want to mainstream gender issues… It is not man v/s women, but both shall be equal,” she said.
Meanwhile, on a question about giving more power to the NCW and making it a quasi-judicial body like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Maneka Gandhi said: “The proposal is with the law ministry. Any objection has not been officially conveyed to us. So I don’t know what is their objection.”
“I am keen about it and would do all possible to give more powers to the NCW,” she said.