After empowering 70 lakh women through Self Help Groups (SHGs), the Odisha government on Saturday announced to transform the SHGs into Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and turn them into vibrant financial hubs.
“In Odisha, six lakh SHGs are functioning. The objective of our government is to transform women SHGs into SMEs. We are prepared to run the extra mile to make this happen and will do everything required for this,” asserted Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while addressing the ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave here.
“Mission Shakti is an initiative that started in 2001 and is today a huge force of 70 lakh empowered women across Odisha. For my government, women empowerment is not a slogan. It is a non-negotiable code. I truly believe that no household, no society, no State and no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women,” he remarked.
To encourage entrepreneurship among women, micro and mini industrial parks will be set up in all 30 districts of Odisha and a revolving fund to the tune of ₹1 crore each will be made available to every district-level federation, ₹50 lakh for block-level federation and special market and office space for panchayat-level federation, the Odisha CM announced.
The State government has already announced to provide interest-free loan up to ₹5 lakh to women and procure of ₹5,000 crore worth of goods and services from SHGs in five years.
“Women have a huge role to play in the transformation story of Odisha. Our government will always work for the holistic empowerment of women. The strength of SHGs lies in federating or coming together. Our goal is to strengthen the federations further and turn them into vibrant financial hubs,” the Odisha CM said.
Basanti Hembram, Mission Shakti Minister, informed, “During the past five years, the interest subvention was to the tune of ₹500 crore. During next five years, the government aims to facilitate ₹50,000 crore of loans to women SHGs and the department aims to provide ₹1,200 crore towards interest subvention.”
Five different memoranda of understanding were signed with different institutions and corporate houses for skilling women and helping them in marketing their produce. One of them was with Flipkart which will provide SHGs access to e-commerce platforms for sale of their products.
“In Make In Odisha conclave where big investors in manufacturing, IT, infrastructure and mineral sectors from India and outside are participating, women entrepreneurs, who generate employment sitting at their homes in rural Odisha, have also come. Women enjoy a special place in Make in Odisha conclave,” said Sujata Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Mission Shakti.
Stating that the singular objective of Mission Shakti was to place money in hands of women, Ms. Karthikeyan said the overall idea is that “no women will confine herself to kitchen anymore and her identity will not be restricted as wife, mother and daughter of anyone, she will create her own identity”.