“One per cent of the budget of the Ministry of Rural Development will go towards the appointment of Mahila Gram Samanvayaks,” Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh announced on Saturday while speaking at the first thematic convergence of pilots of the National Mission for Women.

The function was presided over by Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath and attended among others by Union Minister of Panchayati Raj V .Kishore Chandra Deo.

“I make an offer. We can start with the most backward, Naxal-affected or districts where female literacy is low. We can share one per cent of the budget of the Rural Development Ministry budget. You can get Rs.990 crore provided the Finance Ministry approvals are obtained,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The Rural Development Ministry has a budget of Rs.99,000 crore.

Ms. Tirath in her address spoke of how “the National Mission of Women is like an umbrella, or a platform, for the convergence of programmes and schemes aimed at the socio-economic development of women, that are currently under different Ministries and departments.’’

She said the National Women’s Mission had launched a unique initiative in 2011, a new model of ‘convergence centres’ for women, called ‘Poorna Shakti Kendras’. These, she said, were dedicated to helping women access the range of benefits made available to them through various government programmes in select districts of the country.