The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, addressed a Post Budget Webinar on the subject of “Economic Empowerment of Women”. It is the 11th of a series of 12 post-budget webinars organized by the government to seek ideas and suggestions for effectively implementing the initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023.
The Prime Minister expressed happiness that the country has seen this year’s Budget as an auspicious beginning for achieving the target of Vikasit Bharat by 2047. “The budget has been seen and tested from the point of view of future Amrit Kaal. It is a good sign for the country that the citizens of the country are also looking at the next 25 years by linking them with these goals,” he said.
The Prime Minister reiterated that in the last 9 years, the country has moved with a vision of women-led development. He continued that India has taken these efforts to the global stage as it is figuring prominently in the G-20 meeting presided over by India. This year’s budget will give new momentum to these efforts of women led development, he said.
The Prime Minister underlined the Nari Shakti’s strengths of determination, will power, imagination, ability to work for goals and extreme hard work as reflection of ‘Matru Shakti’. He said these qualities are playing a major role in increasing the speed and scale of India in this century.
The Prime Minister said that today, the results of efforts for women empowerment are visible and we are feeling a revolutionary change in the social life of the country. He said that that number of women compared to men is increasing, and the number of girls studying up to high school and beyond has tripled in the last 9-10 years. Girls’ enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is at 43 percent today, more than countries like America, UK and Germany. In fields like medical, sports, business or politics, not only the participation of women has grown but they are leading from the front.
The Prime Minister touched upon the fact that 70 percent Mudra loan beneficiaries are women. Similarly, women benefit from schemes for promotion of collateral free loans under SVANidhi and promotion schemes in animal husbandry, fisheries, village industries, FPOs and sports.
Shri Modi said “The reflection of how we can take the country forward with the help of half of the country’s population and how we can increase the potential of women power is visible in this budget.” He mentioned Mahila Samman Saving Certificate Scheme where women are to get 7.5 percent interest. “80 thousand crore rupees for PM Awas Yojna is also a step in the direction of women empowerment as most of the 3 crore houses are in the name of women”, Shri Modi said. The Prime Minister emphasized the empowering aspect of PM Awas in a scenario where, traditionally, women had no property in their name. “PM Awas has given women a new voice in economic decisions of the household”, he said.
The Prime Minister informed about the announcement for the support to the Self Help Groups for creating new unicorns among SHGs. The Prime Minister illustrated the strength of the country’s vision for women empowerment with changing scenarios. Today 1 out of 5 non-farm businesses is run by a woman. More than 7 crore women have joined Self Help Groups in the last 9 years. Their value creation can be understood by their capital requirement as these Self Help Groups have taken loans worth 6.25 lakh crore.
The Prime Minister pointed out that these women are contributing not only as small entrepreneurs but also as capable resource persons. He mentioned the Bank Sakhi, Krishi Sakhi and Pashu Sakhi programs that are scaling new dimensions of development in villages.
The Prime Minister dwelled on the transformation in the cooperative sector and role of women in the sector. “More than 2 lakh multi-purpose cooperatives, dairy cooperatives and fisheries cooperatives are to be formed in the coming years. A target has been set to connect 1 crore farmers with natural farming. Women farmers and producer groups can play a big role in this,” the Prime Minister said.
Shri Modi elaborated on the role of women self help groups in promotion of Shree Anna. He said more than 1 crore tribal women with traditional experience in Shree Anna are part of these Self Help groups. “We have to tap the opportunities related to marketing of Shree Anna to processed foods made from it. In many places, government organizations are helping to process minor forest produce and bring it to the market. Today, so many self-help groups have been formed in remote areas, we should take it to a wider level”, he said.
Stressing the need for skill development, the Prime Minister said the Vishwakarma Scheme brought in this Budget will play a major role and will act as a bridge and its opportunities need to be leveraged for women empowerment. Similarly, GeM and e-commerce are becoming ways of expanding women’s business opportunities, there is a need to prioritize new technologies in the training that is being given to the self help groups.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the country is moving with the spirit of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas. He said as the daughters of the country can be seen in national security roles and flying Rafale aircrafts, and when they become entrepreneurs and take decisions and risks, thinking about them changes. He mentioned the recent election of two women MLAs in Nagaland for the first time, one of them took oath as minister too. “India can move forward only by raising the levels of the respect of women and the sense of equality. I call upon all of you to move forward with the determination to remove every obstacle coming in the way of all women-sisters-daughters”, he said.
The Prime Minister concluded by quoting from the article of the President Smt Droupadi Murmu, which she wrote on the International Women’s day. The President wrote “It is up to us, each of us, to hasten the progress. Thus, today, I wish to urge each of you to commit yourself to one change, in your family, neighbourhood or workplace – any change that would bring a smile on a girl’s face, any change that would improve her chances of moving ahead in life. That is one request, as I said before, straight from the heart.”
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