Budget to give impetus to women-led development efforts: PM IG News

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a post budget webinar on the topic “Economic Empowerment of Women”. This is the 11th in the 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 saw this year’s budget as an auspicious beginning to achieve the goal of Vikas India by 2047. “The budget has been seen and judged from the perspective of the Amrit Kaal of the future. It is an auspicious sign for the country that the citizens of the country are also looking at the next 25 years by linking them with these goals.

The Prime Minister reiterated that in the last 9 years the country has moved ahead in terms of women-led development. He said that India has taken these efforts to the global stage as it is coming prominently in the G-20 meeting under the chairmanship of India. He said that this year’s budget will give a new impetus to these efforts for women-led development.

The Prime Minister underlined the determination, will power, imagination, ability to work towards goals and immense hard work of women power as a reflection of ‘Matri Shakti’. He said that 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 the efforts of women empowerment are visible and we are witnessing a revolutionary change in the social life of the country. He said that the number of women is increasing compared to men, and the number of girls studying in high school and beyond has tripled in the last 9-10 years. Enrollment of girls in science, technology, engineering and maths today is 43 per cent, which is higher than countries like the US, UK and Germany. Women’s participation in fields like medicine, sports, business or politics has not only increased but they are leading from the front.

The Prime Minister touched upon the fact that 70 per cent of Mudra loan beneficiaries are women. Similarly, schemes to promote collateral free loans under Swanidhi and incentive schemes in animal husbandry, fisheries, village industries, FPOs and sports benefit women.

Modi said, ‘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, the reflection of this is visible in this budget.’ He referred to the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate Scheme in which women are to get 7.5 percent interest. 80 thousand crore rupees for PM Awas Yojana is also a step towards women empowerment as most of the 3 crore houses are in the name of women. The Prime Minister emphasized on the empowering aspect of PM Awas, where traditionally there were no assets in the name of women. “PM Awas has given women a new voice in economic decisions of the household,” she said.

The Prime Minister informed about the announcement of support to Self Help Groups to create new unicorns among SHGs. The Prime Minister exemplified the strength of the country’s vision for women empowerment in tandem with the changing scenario. Today 1 in 5 non-agriculture businesses is run by a woman. In the last 9 years, more than 7 crore women have been associated with self-help groups. Their value creation can be understood from their need for capital as these self-help groups have taken loans to the tune of Rs 6.25 lakh crore.

The Prime Minister said that these women are contributing not only as small entrepreneurs but also as capable resource persons. He mentioned Bank Sakhi, Krishi Sakhi and Pashu Sakhi programs which are increasing new dimensions of development in villages.

The Prime Minister noted the transformation in the cooperative sector and the role of women in this 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 one crore farmers with natural farming. Women farmers and producer groups can play a big role in this.

Modi elaborated on the role of women self-help groups in Mr. Anna’s campaign. He said that more than 1 crore tribal women with traditional experience in Sri Anna are part of these self-help groups. “We have to tap the opportunities related to marketing of processed foods made from Mr. Anna. 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 on a large scale.

Emphasizing the need for skill development, the Prime Minister said that the Vishwakarma Yojana brought in this budget will play a major role and act as a bridge and there is a need to leverage its opportunities for women empowerment. Similarly, GeM and e-commerce are becoming a means of expanding business opportunities for women, there is a need to give priority to new technologies in the training being imparted to self-help groups.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the country is moving forward with the spirit of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’. He said that the way daughters of the country can be seen in national security roles and flying Rafale aircraft, and when they become entrepreneurs and take decisions and risks, the perception about them changes. He referred to the recent election of two women legislators for the first time in Nagaland, one of them also sworn in as a minister. “India can move forward only by increasing the level of respect and equality of women. 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.

The Prime Minister concluded by quoting an article written by President Draupadi Murmu on International Women’s Day. The President wrote “It is up to us, each of us, to accelerate progress. Thus, today, I urge each of you to commit yourself to being a change in your family, neighborhood or workplace.” Any change that brings a smile to a girl’s face, any change that improves her chances of getting ahead in life… This is a request, as I said before, straight from the heart.”