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Shopping mall to come up in city to aid self-help groups

Kolkata: The state Self-Help Group & Self-Employment department is setting up a shopping mall in the city to facilitate the self-help groups across the state to sell their products.
It may be mentioned that the state Municipal Affairs department has already allocated a 12 cottah land to the department for setting up the shopping mall.
"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been focusing a lot to facilitate the self-help groups in the state and has extended all support for their development. The development of the state will not be possible if we take measures for developing the self-help groups," a senior official of the department said.
State Self-Help Group minister Sadhan Pande had announced this new initiative at the Sabala Mela at Central Park in Salt Lake a few days ago.
The mall will allow the self-help groups across the state to come in the city and sell their products. "The government helps them in selling their products by allowing them space in various fairs that are held in the city and the state but this will be a permanent place for them," the official said.
The department is also making plans to make arrangements for exporting the products of SHGs. "The demand for the products manufactured by the self-help groups are immense abroad and we have to explore the foreign market," the official said.
The official said that the department is planning to set up stalls in every district for the self-help groups.
It may be mentioned that in December 2015, Banerjee had initiated the Muktidhara project to ensure steady earning, drive away poverty and bring about financial improvement through self help groups and self-employment schemes.
The scheme primarily seeks to empower the financially backward classes, especially women and increase earnings of each family per month, thereby working out more means of earning livelihood for these people.
The project had started off as a pilot project earlier in the districts of Purulia and West Midnapore and had met with much success. The scheme is presently running in 11 districts and 28 sub divisions spanning across 1,050 villages.
The self-help groups are being encouraged to produce lac, nuts, vegetables, create apiaries, make plates from sal leaves, produce puffed rice and take up domestication and rearing of poultry, black Bengal goat, pigs and other dairy animals. The self-help groups registered under the scheme are being given a loan to the tune of Rs 1.25 lakh.

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