BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government on Wednesday announced to gift smartphones to six lakh women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to make them digitally empowered.Emphasising on promotion of women entrepreneurship on the fourth day of Make-in-Odisha conclave 2018 on Wednesday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said his dream is to see that every woman has access to knowledge economy.
“As a first step, my Government will digitally empower all groups with a smartphone under the Mission Shakti programme. Whenever we have made an initiative, whether Mamata or Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana or land rights, the State always runs extra mile for women,” he said.
The announcement came a day after Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Mukesh Ambani said here that his company was working on an initiative in the State to integrate several lakh women with the digital mainstream. Naveen showered praises on SHGs for making Odisha proud with their contribution to the economy and said his Government is committed to all-round development of women in the State.
Stating that women empowerment was something ‘very close’ to his heart, the Chief Minister said no household, no society, no State and no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women.
“Women in the State have come a long way in various fields and the next ceiling to be broken is the digital one. Digital empowerment will further accelerate the socio-political and economic empowerment of women,” he said.
As a Government, Naveen said, many things, including infrastructure development, gets top priority. “But whenever we have done anything for women, it has had the maximum impact for the State and given me greatest personal satisfaction,” he added.Mission Shakti project was started in the State in 2001. It has transformed into a movement with 70 lakh women in six lakh groups having `5,000 crore savings and `2,000 crore annual bank exposure.
“Since I assumed office in 2000, my Government has always been conscious of the great role that women can play in a State like Odisha which had challenging socio-economic indicators. Now there is no habitation in the State without an SHG and almost every second household has a member of such groups,” the Chief Minister said.
Appreciating that repayment of loan by SHGs is more than 95 per cent, he urged bankers to meet the credit requirement of the groups in a dignified and professional manner.Naveen released a photo book on Mission Shakti and a brochure on enabling provisions that the State has for women entrepreneurs. He also announced loans at concessional rate for them.