Bhubaneswar: Supporting Government’s crucial initiatives in responding to the global pandemic of Coronavirus, 70 lakh women in 6 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) of Mission Shakti have shouldered many vital responsibilities across rural and urban areas of the state.
“I am heartened by the all-round response of women especially members of Mission Shakti Self Help Groups (SHGs) during this critical time,” said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Early in March pamphlets on awareness of Coronavirus and prevention of COVID-19 were circulated to 70 lakh SHG members. They were to sensitize their family members and local communities. This enabled them to create mass awareness of this disease mainly among women in rural and semi-urban areas.
The pledge that Honourable CM requested everybody to take for prevention of COVID-19 was circulated to all SHG members. Carrying forward the STAY @ HOME pledge of Hon’ble Chief Minister to all rural and urban habitations across the state for breaking the chain, SHGs have led the fight against Coronavirus with immediate coordinated action.
Early on, seeing the public demand for masks many SHGs and Federations who had prior experience in stitching uniforms for school children took on this activity. Today nearly 400 groups with a combined capacity of 50,000 masks per day are manufacturing this much-needed item. Our SHGs have sold nearly 6 lakh masks so far to agencies, institutions banks, police, village health workers and the common public. They are sold at reasonable rates of Rs 15-20 / piece. Many SHGs have also taken this up as a philanthropic activity and distributed masks free of cost to those in need.
When the lockdown was announced and it was seen that the supply of rations and vegetables may become an issue, our SHGs stepped in to fill the gap. Nearly 500 SHGs have set up dry ration, vegetables and fruit shops across the state with the help of the district administration. They are also doing home delivery of rations in many urban centres like Berhampur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, and Koraput.
To ensure food security of the vulnerable during the lockdown across the state, Honourable Chief Minister entrusted the responsibility of managing free kitchens in every Gram Panchayat to the SHGs. Today nearly 1,75,385 hot cooked meals have been provided to needy and vulnerable persons in 4338 GPs and 14,383 meals in 114 urban bodies. This is actively being done by our SHGs and the number of such kitchens is increasing every day.
Apart from this, under the existing Mission Shakti loan scheme of the state, women SHGs are eligible for loans up to 3 lakhs at zero interest. This year more than 2000 crores loan has been sanctioned to women SHGs.
All the Block level federations of the state have a corpus of Rs . 25 lakh which can be used to meet the financial needs of the SHG members at low-interest rates
Many SHGs and Federations have voluntarily contributed from their group savings to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Mission Shakti started by Sri Naveen Patnaik in 2001 – comprising 70 lakh women in 6 lakh groups has always played a vital role during any disaster or emergency situation.
“Once again Mission Shakti members have risen to the occasion providing a vital link between government and community – as leaders and partners in service delivery at the grassroots level,” said Smt. Sujata R Karthikeyan, Commissioner-cum-Director, Mission Shakti.