Bhubaneswar: The aim of the State Government is to transform the Self Help Groups (SHGs) to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Plenary Session on Building Economic Independence for Women Empowerment held today at Make-in Odisha Conclave in Bhubaneswar.
Attending the program as the Chief Guest, Patnaik said that Mission Shakti, an intiative that started in 2001, today has become a huge force of seventy lakh empowered women across Odisha. Women empowerment is not just a slogan for his government, it is a non negotiable code. It is a sacred responsibility.
The Chief Minister said that it is his strong belief that no household, no society, no state or no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women.
Informing that there are six lakh self-help groups working in Odisha, the Chief Minister said that the aim of the state government is to convert SHGs into SMEs. “We are prepared to run the extra mile to make it happen,” he added.
The Chief Minister said that lakhs of women of Odisha will be benefited by the decision of the Government to provide interest-free loans of up to Rs 5 lakh to the women under Mission Shakti.
He said that the Odisha Cabinet has decided to procure goods and services worth Rs 5000 crores from SHGs in 5 years and about one lakh SHGs are benefiting from this.
Stating that the aim of the State Government is to further strengthen Mission Shakti Federations and turn them into vibrant financial hubs, the Chief Minister announced that a revolving fund of Rs 1 crore will be given to each district federation, and revolving fund of Rs 50 lakh to each block level federation.
Similarly, the Chief Minister announced that a special office building with a market complex will be built for the Federation at the Panchayat level. The Chief Minister also announced that to encourage entrepreneurship among women, micro-agri industrial parks will be set up in all 30 districts of Odisha.
Stating that women have a major role in the transformation of Odisha, the Chief Minister said that his government will always work for the holistic empowerment of women.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister launched a coffee table book ‘Mission Shakti – Scaling Up’ of the Mission Shakti Department and felicitated Kabita Sahu of Cuttack’s Mata Tarani SHG, Prema Das of Sundargarh’s Dibyajyoti SHG, and Gayatri Sunai of Nuapada’s Banadurga SHG.
Similarly, Odisha Rural Bank, State Bank of India and UCO Bank, which have done a good job in providing loans to SHGs, were felicitated.
In her speech, Mission Shakti Minister Basanti Hembram highlighted the initiatives taken for the development of women. Mission Shakti commissioner-cum-secretary Sujata R Karthikeyan gave the welcome address, and the departmental director gave the vote of thanks.