LG launches ‘SAATH’ – a rural enterprise acceleration program for SHG women in J&K

SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday launched ‘SAATH’, a rural women enterprise acceleration programme here at SKICC.
Under this initiative of the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (UMEED), the SHG women entrepreneurs will be provided mentoring and handholding through intensive training and capacity building workshops for up-scaling their business ventures.
5000 women will participate in entrepreneur workshops, 500 women will be provided enterprise up-scaling training and 100 women will be selected for business mentoring under SAATH initiative.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor observed that the specifically tailored platform ‘SAATH’ will be a major contributor to the socio-economic upliftment of women in rural and semi-urban areas.
Apart from making business ecologies thriving in the rural areas, the programme under Rural Livelihoods Mission, J&K will nurture existing enterprises into sustainable, high productivity ventures through skilling, mentoring, and market linkages, he added.
Terming economic independence of women as a key indicator of women empowerment, the Lt Governor observed that the goal of the UT Government is to make the women of J&K job creators instead of job seekers, and increase the contribution of women entrepreneurs in UT’s GDP.
We are witnessing the steady rise of women entrepreneurs in J&K. Similarly, youth entrepreneurs are transforming society in many ways and are ensuring economic security and prosperity for others.They are our role models and not the ones who are shedding innocents’ blood, and indulging in senseless violence. I appeal to the women entrepreneurs to show such misguided people the right and virtuous path, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor reiterated the government’s commitment to provide access to capital, quality mentorship for re-skilling, new-skilling and help women entrepreneurs from SHG’s reach new markets.
We have adopted a holistic approach to develop women entrepreneurs ecosystem to connect, collaborate, invent for scaling up business and building a strong women workforce, he added.
The UT Government is strengthening bottom-up structures for women and youth to create super-empowered individuals in Jammu Kashmir. Their aspirations are more integrated with national aspirations now than ever before. They have resources available to create smarter enterprises and shape the community around them in extraordinary ways, the Lt Governor observed.
He said with initiatives like Saath, Umeed, Mumkin, Hausla, Tejaswini, we are making women socially and economically independent. Women entrepreneurs can trigger a more dynamic economy and inclusive society, he added.
Highlighting the transformation JKRLM programmes are making in the lives of rural women of Jammu and Kashmir, the Lt Governor said that the inclusion of four lakh women in more than 48,000 self-help groups with easy access to capital have revolutionized women entrepreneurship at grassroot level.
Women should become visible in the workforce now. We need to involve more women in non-farming works, besides giving focused attention to areas where they can get maximum economic freedom and business opportunities. The gap between paid and unpaid work can also be bridged through IPS strategy- Identity, Productivity and Security, he added.
In order to assist the growth of the SHGs at local level, the Lt Governor suggested policy interventions by ensuring that the offices, schools in the districts, and blocks procure a fixed quota of goods from Self-Help Groups.
The Lt Governor advised the JKRLM office bearers to focus on branding, packaging, and above all brand positioning of SHG products.
The attractive packaging, effective brand positioning, required licenses for over-the-counter sales are some of the basic necessities to give them a competitive edge in the market. You have the most difficult task of identifying consumers to connect with your brand, but it is not impossible. The workshop must aim to offer 360-degree training on branding and marketing. It is also important to exploit the power of social media and e-commerce. The digital space can create a widely available market base for the rural women entrepreneurs,” the Lt Governor said.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor also interacted with the SHG entrepreneurs of JKRLM and wished them success in their enterprising journey. The logo of SAATH was also unveiled by the Lt Governor.
Sh. Baseer Ahmad Khan, in his address, said that the JKRLM has brought new hope to rural women. This initiative will boost the entrepreneur skills of the rural women and will turn their existing livelihood activities into high order enterprises, he added.
Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary said that the programme is aimed at providing better livelihood support to women, particularly in rural areas by showing them a sustainable path to economic growth. He said the UT government is planning to establish 11,000 new SHGs taking the total number of SHGs to 59,000.
He further announced that on the lines of Kashmir HAAT, a HAAT will be established in every District of the UT in the coming days.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar, Mission Director JKRLM highlighted the essence and vision of JKRLM. She informed that 500 SHG women entrepreneurs under the programme would be capacitated and out of which 100 SHG entrepreneurs will be provided one to one mentoring support, for enhancing their competitiveness and stake in the specific trade sector.
Vinod Kumar, President India SME forum also spoke on the occasion.
Women members from SHGs shared their experiences and journey of becoming successful entrepreneurs.
“UMEED gave wings to my dreams and helped me become a role model for other girls. It has changed my life and made it more meaningful”, said Hamida Banoo, a member of Masha Allah Self Help Group.
Kaushalaya Devi from Chenani, a member of Shiv Mandir SHG also thanked the government for its support. Joining UMEED Scheme helped me start different businesses and earn respect in the society, she said.
Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to Government, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir; Raghav Langer, Divisional Commissioner Jammu; Dr. J S Juneja, Member, Executive Board of India SME Forum; Sushma Morthania, DG, India SME Forum, besides officers of UT administration, Training partners from India SME and a large number of SHGs members from Kashmir and Jammu attended the launching ceremony in person and through video conferencing.

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