SRINAGAR : Minister for Social Welfare Ms. Sakina Itoo, inaugurated 27th 10-day Exhibition-cum-Sale of handloom and handicraft products produced by the women Self Help Groups (SHGs) of the State, here today.
The Exhibition has been organised by Jammu and Kashmir Women’s Development Corporation (JKWDC) and sponsored by National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) to provide opportunity to the Self Help Group unit holders mostly comprising women to showcase and market their products.
42 stalls of different crafts have been setup at the exhibition which include Shawls, Embroidery items, Papier-mâché artifacts’ and locally rich Kashmir and Kishtwar Saffron, Honey and dry fruits.
The Minister went round the stalls and interacted with the women artisans who have organised Self Help Groups to set up handicraft units with the assistance of the JKWDC. She appreciated the efforts of SHGs for producing buyer attractive items.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that women empowerment in the State is first priority of the Government, adding that efforts are being made to uplift the socio economic status of women folk. She said, besides providing vocational trainings, financial assistance in the shape of incentives and low rate interest loans is being provided to women for making them self dependent.
Ms. Sakina said that Rs 90 crore have been provided to the 14000 beneficiaries during last 12 years for setting up their own income generating units on low rate interests.
The Minister urged upon the women especially living in remote and far-flung areas to come forward and avail optimum benefits out of the centrally and state government sponsored schemes launched by the government for their welfare. She said the government will provide all assistance including the loan facility on low interest to those who intend to set up their own income generating units.
Earlier, highlighting the aims and objectives of organising such exhibitions, Managing Director, JKWDC, Dr. Naheed Soz, said that such exhibitions provide a platform for women of the State to showcase their talent. She said that JKWDC is working hard over the past 20 years for the empowerment of women and to make them self sufficient so that they are able to establish a respectable position for themselves in the society.
Dr Naheed said that through its various initiatives JKWDC has made efforts to mobilize the women folk to come forward and avail such benefits that help them not only earn a living for themselves but also provides them an opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with men thus contributing to the socio-economic development of the society.
Director, Social Welfare, Kashmir Mr. Gazanfar Ali, Director Tribal Affairs Mr. Ali Raza, Secretary, WDC, women artisans and beneficiaries and a large number of people were present on the occasion.