GUWAHATI, Nov 9 � Women empowerment can take the State forward on all fronts. The silent revolution that is taking place in the rural areas, thanks to the Self Help Groups, of which 50 per cent constitute women SHGs, heralds brighter days for the State, said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at the Annual Stakeholders� Meet at the Khanapara Veterinary Field today.
Addressing the gathering, Gogoi said the assembling of tens of thousands of women SHGs in Guwahati is a pointer to the fact that womenfolk are no longer behind men in terms of participation in the State�s development.
�Today, women have come out of the confines of their homes and are supplementing the incomes of their families by engaging themselves in economic activities through the SHGs. There is no looking back for them. They are opening bank accounts, availing loans, keeping an account of the transactions and repaying their loans. The day is not far off when women will not only march shoulder to shoulder with men but also forge ahead,� he said.
The Chief Minister said that the Government has laid emphasis on women empowerment because it realised that women�s participation in economic activities can only take the State along the path of progress and prosperity. �Women constitute more than 50 per cent of the populace of the country. Without their participation in the development process, no society or State can march ahead. That is why we laid much emphasis on their economic uplift so that they can contribute towards nation building,� he added.
Gogoi said the Government�s aim is to raise the income of the people, especially in the rural areas where 80 per cent of the populace lives.
�Our aim is to raise the income of the people living in the rural areas so as to elevate their living standards. They can look after their children, send them to schools, give proper treatment and can meet the requirements in life,� he said.
The Chief Minister said the avenues of employment to be opened up to one lakh unemployed youth after the completion of short-term training by Project Implementing Agencies in different skills would further boost the development process in the State. Gogoi said that the Government would start the process for filling up of 53,000 posts in different departments despite the Centre�s directive to the contrary.
Gogoi announced that the Government would take up a slew of pro-poor schemes, schemes for women, the aged and employment generation programmes for the unemployed youth out of its own resources in the coming days.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Panchayat and Rural Development, Rakibul Hussain said that one lakh unemployed rural youth would be selected and they would undergo a one-month training to be conducted by 21 Project Implementing Agencies in 42 different vocations.
Hussain said that the State Government would extend loans worth Rs 67 crore to 56,000 beneficiaries. �Our focus will continue to be on the rural areas where 87 per cent of the populace lives. We will take up more activities to improve the economic condition of the rural people. The assembling of over 30,000 women SHGs gives out a loud message that Assam is well on its way to becoming an advanced State of the country,� he said.
Hussain further said that the silent revolution brewing in the rural areas is owing to 3 lakh SHGs, of which 50 per cent comprise women SHGs. �From 17,000 to 3 lakh SHGs, the SHG movement has come a long way in the State,� he added.