Other States

Odisha BJP promises SHGs for men

The Odisha unit of the BJP has promised to promote self-help groups (SHGs) for unemployed men on the lines of SHGs for women.

The promise in the BJP’s manifesto for rural polls appears to be aimed at countering ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) as women SHGs are considered an important vote bank for the regional party.

“The SHGs for men will address the issue unemployment at village level. It will prevent distress migration. Besides, we hope the SHGs will give meaningful engagement to youths who would stay away criminal activities,” BJP spokesperson Lekhashree Samantsinghar said here on Friday.

Ms. Samantsinghar stated, “the BJD has always treated women SHGs as its vote banks while it has not empowered them by providing job and managerial skills, which would have enabled women to stand on their own feet.”

“The women SHG movement was launched by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government. During the past two decades, the Naveen Patnaik government has given cash to women members in the family ahead of elections only. We want women SHGs to grow and become engine of economic development. At the same time, their male counterparts should not lag behind,” she observed.

Mission Shakti

The BJD owes much of its electoral success to its policy of giving priority to the SHGs. A separate department has been carved out in shape of Mission Shakti to supervise their activities.

The government said the Mission Shakti revolution transformed the lives of 70 lakh women. In 2021, loans worth ₹ 6,000 crore was extended to women SHGs. Besides, ₹200 crore has been deposited in bank accounts of SHGs towards interest subvention.

Recently, keeping panchayat polls in mind, the State had announced smartphones for community resource persons-community mobilisers (CRP-CM) involved in women SHGs.

To consolidate its position further among women voters, the government had announced handing over unused public property to women SHGs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women SHGs were in the forefront of managing COVID-19 care centres. Ahead of elections, the government also started the construction of separate buildings for SHGs at every block headquarter town.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 3:36:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-bjp-promises-shgs-for-men/article38338615.ece