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Empowering rural women through Anandadhara: CM

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday lauded "Anandadhara", a scheme aimed for poverty alleviation through social mobilisation.

On the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women, Banerjee tweeted: "Today is #InternationalDayofRuralWomen. Our Govt in #Bangla is working for the empowerment of rural women through self-help groups. The scheme 'Anandadhara' has been very successful in this regard. We also distribute animals for rearing by them, ensuring their economic prosperity."

Banerjee, over the past eight years, has taken up several measures to empower rural women through Self-Help Groups. The women forming the SHGs have become self-reliant in many districts. Women in Bankura, East Burdwan, North-24 Parganas and Nadia have become self-reliant by producing bricks from fly ash. The Panchayats and Rural Development department has given them machines that are used to manufacture bricks worth anything between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 13 lakh per machine.

Bricks from fly ash are eco-friendly and stronger than the usual ones, said a report of IIT Kharagpur.

The project has made the women members of the SHGs economically self-sufficient. The fly ash bricks are used to construct rural roads.

Some women running the SHGs in Nadia district have become self-reliant by doing fish cultivation as well. The Panchayats and Rural Development department has created water tanks for them under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

The state Fisheries department has given them training and helped them to conduct surveys in the local markets. The women are selling fish grown in those tanks in the local markets and every member is getting anything between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh per annum.

Initiated in 2012, "Anandadhara" caters to women from SC/ST, minorities and vulnerable tribal groups who have benefitted along with single women and those who head households, isolated communities and migrant labourers.

Women are given livestock to increase the production of eggs. Mamata Banerjee has taken up programmes to increase the production of eggs to reduce the dependence on Andhra Pradesh.

The rural women are being given financial assistance and are provided with training to set up poultries and hatcheries.

Senior officials of the Panchayats and Rural Development department said the schemes have helped the beneficiaries financially and now they want their children to carry on with their studies. "Anandadhara" along with Sabujshree and Sabuj Sathi have helped in empowering the rural womenfolk. These schemes have become very successful in women-controlled Gram Panchayats.

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