Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday interacted with women entrepreneurs of Jammu and Kashmir and said that “it is encouraging to see that the women entrepreneurs in UT are in such fields which were not taken by many and were usually male-dominated.”
According to a statement by Raj Bhavan on Monday, the interaction programme included over 60 women entrepreneurs from J&K working in a variety of sectors, including beekeeping, dairy, handicraft, journalism, copper works, and furniture manufacturing, among others.
The event featured success stories of women entrepreneurs from across the UT who have been benefitted under different schemes initiated by the J&K government. The Union Finance Minister lauded the efforts of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha’s administration for creating a successful women Entrepreneurship culture in the UT of J-K which is unique among the country.
She said it is encouraging to see that the women entrepreneurs here are in such fields which were not taken by many and were usually male-dominated, reads the statement. During the interaction, the Union Finance Minister listened to the inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs in J-K and how they rose above the challenges to benefit their society at the grassroots level.
The Finance Minister said, “The land of Kashmir is the land of Maa Sharada and that absolute power-packed knowledge-driven energy is what has come out here. I appeal to you to move around the country and share your stories.”
She also encouraged the women entrepreneurs and the Mission Director, RLM to prepare a detailed plan, after threadbare consultations, on how they could be facilitated in a much better way. She said the action plan can further be incorporated into the next budget. On the occasion, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha highlighted the key initiatives initiated by the UT administration for supporting women entrepreneurs under different schemes, commensurate with their educational background and experience.
The Lt Governor said, “It has always been my firm belief that the contribution of women in economic activities is by no means less and there will be many examples where their contribution is much more than that of men.
Therefore, last year itself, the UT administration had taken a decision to move ahead from the talk about empowering women and to implement programmes on the ground, in a concrete way to establish their rights.” The Lt Governor noted that the government is empowering women entrepreneurs through a slew of focused programs such as ‘UMEED’, ‘SAATH’ and ‘HAUSLA’.
Through these programs new confidence, a new spirit is being created by making them more capable so that half of the population can play their constructive role in the journey of J&K’s progress, he said. “Today, 54,325 Self-Help Groups have been formed under the UMEED program to empower women in rural areas to become financially independent and more than 4.5 lakh women have been associated with it.
I am very happy that financial assistance of about Rs. 1000 Crores has been provided to the women entrepreneurs of UMEED Self Help Group, which will strengthen their business”, the Lt Governor observed. The Lt Governor also highlighted the recently started innovative programmes for women empowerment in the Agriculture and financial sectors in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
“Since 70 per cent of the population of Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on agriculture, we have started another innovative program on women empowerment in rural areas. A cadre of ‘Krishi Sakhi’ and ‘Pashu Sakhi’ with 938 women has been created in different districts of the UT, which will train 75 thousand women farmers associated with agriculture and horticulture for Sustainable and Integrated Farming.
The initiative will also give impetus to the reforms in the agriculture sector, the backbone of the economy”, the Lt Governor noted. The Lt Governor asserted that the government of J&K is committed to strengthening the ecosystem of Women Entrepreneurs in Jammu and Kashmir.
He informed about the recently launched ‘HAUSLA’ program whose main objective is to provide training, market, network and handholding to women entrepreneurs of the UT, enabling them to expand their business amidst the ever-changing dynamics of business processes.
“The first batch of the Hausla program, consisting of 120 women entrepreneurs, will complete their five months of training, this month. For the last five months, efforts are being made to provide these women entrepreneurs’ enhanced access to national and international markets”, he added.
The Union Finance Minister and the Lt Governor also distributed sanction letters of various credit-related schemes to women entrepreneurs, on the occasion.