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Mission Shakti Self Help Groups Transform Urban Landscape with MUKTA Initiative

Bhubaneswar: In a remarkable tale of community-driven development, the Baisakhi Mahasangha in Bhubaneswar has achieved a significant milestone by completing the construction of a park under the “MUKTA” initiative. Laxmipriya Raut, a representative from Baisakhi Mahasangha, shared insights into the group’s transformative journey, highlighting their newfound identity and the positive ripple effects felt within the community.

Receiving a work order from the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Mahasangha took charge of the park’s construction, initially guided by BMC engineers. Clearing an abandoned and inaccessible area filled with bushes, the group learned the layout design, required materials, and construction details. Overcoming initial challenges, they assumed complete control of construction and supervision, resulting in a smoothly executed project.

Laxmipriya Raut expressed joy in witnessing people of all ages, from children to the elderly, utilizing the park daily. The success story reflects the broader impact of the “Mukhyamantri Karma Tatpara Abhiyan” (MUKTA), a flagship program initiated by the Odisha Government.

Initiated as “Urban Wage Based Employment” in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program aimed to provide rapid employment opportunities for the urban poor, unskilled workers, and migrant laborers. Evolving into MUKTA in February 2021, the program operates by the people, for the people, and through the people, with more than 2,2500 Mission Shakti Self Help Groups actively participating.

Under the MUKTA scheme, 52,500 projects have been completed, generating 76 lakh man-days. To further empower Mission Shakti Self Help Groups, the Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a state-wide skill development training program in January 2024. This program aims to enhance their capacity for successful project implementation and improve their knowledge of construction projects.

The training involves creating master trainers from Mission Shakti Self Help Group members who previously succeeded in MUKTA projects. Covering 115 municipalities in 12 clusters, the program focuses on comprehensive training, digital literacy, and communication skills. Through 2055 ward-level training camps, more than 35,000 Mission Shakti Self Help Group members have been trained, fostering an empowered community capable of efficiently managing urban infrastructure projects.

The MUKTA initiative has become a movement, empowering vulnerable groups to actively contribute to the development of urban infrastructure, including paver block roads, parks, public gyms, and local area development. The direct interaction of senior officials with Mission Shakti Group members through virtual platforms ensures effective communication and policy reforms based on the concerns and views raised by the self-help groups.

The success of the MUKTA initiative signifies a paradigm shift towards inclusive, community-driven urban development, creating a lasting impact on Odisha’s landscape.

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