SHILLONG, Dec 15: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that the state government is committed to create a turnaround in the socio-economic condition of the rural population with an inclusive programme that promotes Self Help Group Movement (SHGs) and Farmers Collectives across the state.
Attending an SHG mela along with Agriculture minister Bantiedor Lyngdoh at Rapleng village under Mawkynrew block in East Khasi Hills, the chief minister said, “Our government understands the importance of SHGs and how it can provide direct benefit to our women organisations. Through the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), we have been able to provide financial aid and support to thousands of SHGs in the last three years.”
He said that the entire NRLM team in the state have been working tirelessly with a sense of purpose to serve the people. “Today our SHGs are empowered and they are financially stable to expand their income generating activities. We are supporting the groups through different welfare programmes under the mandate of NRLM.”
During the SHG Mela, the chief minister and Agriculture minister handed over appreciation certificates and cash reward to villages, for their innovative and successful enterprises, which has brought laurel to the villages under Mawkynrew block.
The dignitaries also handed over financial support to 70 Farmers Producers’ Group, formed under State Government’s flagship programme – FOCUS (Farmers Collectivisation for Upscaling and Marketing System).
“Majority of our population are farmers in the state. Hence, as government we deemed it fit that a special programme be launched for the farmers welfare. Through FOCUS we have been able to touch the lives of many rural farmers and aid them financially to upscale their enterprises,” he added.
He took the opportunity to inform the gathering that the government has accorded priority to upscale infrastructure development in the state and in the last three years, huge investment has been made to boost road communication across the state.
“I am not saying that we have resolved every single issue or we have repaired every road in the state but this government is determined to ensure that the momentum of development continues and benefits a large section of the society and the region as a whole,” he added.
During the SHG mela, the chief minister announced that all the 46 C&RD blocks in the state will get a facelift and new infrastructure will be put in place to ensure that the rural blocks function in a more effective manner. “We have sanctioned Rs 3 cr each for every block office in the state, and the construction to upgrade the blocks will start next year,” he added.
He also informed that the government has made investment to upscale infrastructure in elementary schools as well as have made investment to ramp up health facilities in the state.
“This government has sanctioned Rs 100 cr for renovation of police infrastructures across the state and Rs 350 cr for upscaling health infrastructure in the state. Most of the renovation works have started and some more will start soon,” he added.
Under Meghalaya’s biggest farmers’ welfare program- FOCUS, the chief minister distributed cheques amounting to Rs 48.55 lakh to 70 Farmer Producer Groups impacting 971 households. Community Investment Funds (CIF) amounting to Rs 22.80 lakh sanctioned to 8 Village Organisations benefitting 42 SHGs & covering 420 Households and Rs 27 lakh sanctioned as Bank Loan to 19 SHGs.
He also launched the Market Outlet at Laitdiengsai under Mawkynrew C&RD Block, a project implemented in convergence with MGNREGS, NRLM & MBMA. The outlet will showcase the traditional indigenous products of the SHGs.