Odisha’s Mission Shakti Programme Not Off Track, Empowers Lakhs Of Women: Minister In Assembly

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Tuesday refuted opposition claim that Mission Shakti programme has deviated from its goal in the state and asserted that lakhs of women are being empowered through the initiative.

Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti Minister Basanti Hembram while speaking in the state Assembly, also dismissed the allegation that crores of rupees are being bungled in the name of women empowerment.

Replying to an adjournment motion moved by senior Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra, the Minister said Mission Shakti program started since 2001 and over two decades, lakhs of women from rural to urban areas have been involved in this through Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Stating that women have gained a unique identity through the initiative outside the confines of the home, she said the state government’s financial support along with its own meager savings has improved the morale of the women.

Through various training programmes, the capacity of women has increased. Utilising the opportunities created by the government through financial assistance, training more than 70 lakh women have been empowered by joining 6 lakh SHGs in the state, she said.

Considering the scope of this program, the state government  created a separatel Mission Shakti Department in 2021. A host of  activities are being undertaken to empower and employ SHGs.

The Minister said the state government has made provision for engaging SHGs for different works in various departments and more than one lakh SHGs are working in different government departments in the country through this partnership programme.

The amount of bank loans to SHGs has increased year by year and has reached Rs 9,510 crore this year, she said, adding SHGs  repay regular loans and get back all interest on loans up to Rs five lakhs.

While capacity building of SHGs is being ensured through training programmes, arrangements have been made to set up District Level Mission Shakti Markets in every district, Hembram said.

Through various agricultural and non-agricultural livelihood programs, self-help groups have become employable and financially empowered.

To turn more SHGs into entrepreneurs, the state government has initiated a programme of setting up industrial parks at the district level through Mission Shakti, she said, adding Odisha’s women empowerment programme has created a unique identity across the country.

Therefore, the contention of the Congress legislator that Mission Shakti programme has moved off its target and that crores of rupees are being embezzled in the name of women empowerment is not based on facts, the Minister added.

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