5.5 lakh women associated with 64,000 SHGs, every panchayat today has 2 female entrepreneurs: LG

JKRLM signs MoU with Meesho to empower J&K’s 1800 SHG members
The LG said that from shawls and carpets to phool kari, J&K’s arts and crafts had earned global recognition for their uniqueness.
The LG said that from shawls and carpets to phool kari, J&K’s arts and crafts had earned global recognition for their uniqueness. Special arrangement

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (Umeed) and Meesho, India’s fastest-growing internet commerce company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the growth of 1800 Self Help Groups (SHGs) by providing them an online platform to launch and grow their business and empower the rural women entrepreneurs.

An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the MoU was signed and exchanged in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha here at the Raj Bhavan.

Congratulating women entrepreneurs of SHGs and Meesho officials on the occasion, the LG said that the partnership would help build lives and livelihood for rural communities and provide greater access to economic activities and financial independence to rural women entrepreneurs.

“The partnership of Rural Livelihoods Mission and e-commerce giant Meesho is a significant step in making niche products of J&K available to the wider customer base, providing SHGs global market to grow their business, and making them Aatma-Nirbhar,” he said.

The LG said that from shawls and carpets to phool kari, J&K’s arts and crafts had earned global recognition for their uniqueness. He said that going online with Meesho would allow these women to sell such products to all corners of India and benefit from higher visibility and additional income.

“Digital inclusion will help them become self-employed entrepreneurs and fulfill their aspirations of achieving financial independence. JKRLM Umeed and Meesho have already identified products created by these SHGs that can be sold on the online platform, such as Chabhari and Bina grass items, papier-mâché, essential oils, woolens and crewel embroidered products, made across J&K. JKRLM Umeed on its part will provide all necessary support to boost the digitisation of these women entrepreneurs through access to the internet and financial services,” he said. The LG said that the partnership would also provide an opportunity to both JKRLM and Meesho to scale up rural enterprises from grassroots to large scale and bring the change in rural women’s lives.

He highlighted the efforts of the government for promoting women entrepreneurship by building strong grassroots institutions that can foster enduring transformation.

“For the last two years, we have been working towards re-imagining the rural areas of J&K and providing a strong market linkage and e-commerce platforms to exploit the potential of artisans. About 5.5 lakh women are associated with more than 64,000 SHGs and almost every panchayat has two women entrepreneurs today,” the LG said. “Greater access to economic activities for women entrepreneurs has made these SHGs the backbone of the rural economy. Today’s MoU will ensure the selected members of our SHGs are empowered and their true potential is fully realised.”

He said that J&K has abundant talent in handicrafts, and through this cooperation, the government would be able to empower a large number of women, which in turn would empower the community as well as J&K.

Co-founder and CTO, Meesho, Sanjeev Barnwal, said, “We are privileged to work with Umeed-JKRLM and the J&K government to further our mission of democratising e-commerce. Women entrepreneurs are a key growth engine of India’s economy and Meesho has empowered lakhs of them to succeed in the online world. Through this partnership, we hope to amplify our efforts in that direction and enable these SHGs from J&K realise their full potential. We will provide them with all the tools and guidance they need to grow their business online with Meesho.”

Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta asked the JKRLM to devise a comprehensive system for product certification to create a brand value.

“e-Commerce is the way forward and more focus should be given on showcasing our products in virtual showrooms,” he said. Administrative Secretary to the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Mandeep Kaur briefed about the initiatives taken to link local products with e-markets. Mission Director of JKRLM Indu Kanwal Chib briefed on the key aspects of the MoU.

She said that the partnership with Meesho would not only give the SHG women good prices for their products, but also a new identity to their entrepreneurship development. “Through this association, women artisans will get access to a potentially wider market base while locally produced, unique products from J&K will become available to millions of Meesho customers across the country, strengthening rural businesses,” she said.

A short film on livelihood generation initiatives of JKRLM was also showcased on the occasion.

Additional Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, Jammu Mridhu Slathia and Head of the Public Policy and Government Affairs of Meesho Prachi Bhuchar were also present at the MoU signing ceremony.

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