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27 Jul 2017

'Bengal government has been able to instill self-belief among rural women'

Choten D Lama, State Mission Director and CEO of the West Bengal State Rural Livelihoods Mission under the Panchayats and Rural Development Department
MP, 26 July 2017 11:30 PM |  Kolkata: Through capacity building activities and skill enhancement, the Bengal government has been able to instill self-belief among thousands of rural women, said Choten D Lama, State Mission Director and CEO of the West Bengal State Rural Livelihoods Mission under the Panchayats and Rural Development Department. She was speaking at the Skills Conclave organised by CII here on Wednesday. The women are engaged in a wide variety of work – be it in handicrafts, weaving kantha or producing food products or engagement in the traditional agriculture and allied sectors.

Drawing a lesson from the SHG movement in the state in which more than 5.3 million poor women are members, she highlighted that through the matching of expectations and aspirations of various stakeholders in the area of credit linkage for rural poor women, a model has been evolved which has made it possible to effect a very significant growth in the access of credit from the formal banking sector by these women who are engaged in various activities aimed at improving their incomes and livelihood opportunities. From Rs 600-plus cr in 2012-13, since the launch of this initiative in 2015-16, the SHG credit linkage has grown in the past two years to Rs 2012 and to Rs 3,400 crore. The target for 2017-18 is Rs 5,003 cr of credit, Lama said.

She also requested CII to work alongside the state government and make sure these talented women receive top-notch skill training, acquire marketing acumen and gain wider market linkages. "With some handholding, they can be a new model in entrepreneurship," Lama said, adding that the state government has taken up a slew of projects, primarily aimed at generating jobs for women living in villages. 
Lama also stated that all stakeholders in the skills sector must come together and work together to ensure that we can reap the demographic dividends of our nation's youthful workforce. 
She added that there has been a sea change in the way the bureaucracy functions, especially in the skills ecosystem and the focus of the Bengal government is definitely its citizens and service delivery to them.

Communication and sharing between various players in the skills sector will support the establishment of an environment of mutual trust and respect and help in ironing out implementation challenges, she said, adding that institutions must be given a priority. 
Jayanta Krishna, Executive Director & COO, National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), too, observed that Bengal holds a huge potential. "Budgetary outlays have been substantially increased and a lot of work is happening. However, a lot of work remains to be done as well," he said. 
Krishna also struck a note of caution, saying unless "we skill and employ a large number of young people" there could be a "demographic disaster".

(Source & Courtesy: http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/bengal-government-has-been-able-to-instill-self-belief-among-rural-women-254547)

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