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Union Rural Development Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan Prioritizes Strengthening SHGs and Rural Connectivity

New Delhi: Union Rural Development Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan continued his series of meetings with senior officials, focusing on reviewing various schemes after assuming charge of the Ministry on Tuesday. In his discussions, Chouhan emphasized the need for strong measures to fortify Self Help Groups (SHGs) and reiterated his commitment to the ambitious target of creating three crore “Lakhpati Didis” within three years.

Describing the target as a personal dream, Chouhan urged all stakeholders to work diligently to achieve it ahead of the deadline. He announced plans to convene a meeting with state rural development ministers to accelerate the Lakhpati Didi initiative and engage with state chief ministers to resolve any outstanding issues.

Chouhan praised the efforts under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and stressed the importance of enhancing branding and marketing strategies for products made by women SHGs. He noted the transformation of these women from being considered “un-bankable” to becoming the “Lakhpatis of Tomorrow,” highlighting SHGs as a pivotal solution to the longstanding issue of rural credit.

The minister was informed that during the fiscal year 2023-24, banks disbursed credit worth Rs 2,06,636 crore to over 56 lakh women SHGs, marking a five-fold increase in the number of SHGs receiving annual credit and a nearly ten-fold increase in annual credit disbursement over the past decade.

In his review of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Chouhan underscored the scheme’s critical role in transforming rural India. He called for continued efforts to ensure that 100% of rural habitations are connected with all-weather roads, emphasizing the importance of quality assurance at all levels.

Chouhan also directed enhanced coordination with states to improve rural road maintenance throughout the entire design life of the roads. He stressed the need for greater involvement of public representatives in the program to ensure its success and sustainability.

Minister of State in Rural Development Kamlesh Paswan, Secretary Shailesh Kumar Singh, and other senior officials were present during the meeting. The discussions and directives from Minister Chouhan reflect a focused approach towards empowering rural women through SHGs and enhancing rural infrastructure, aligning with the broader vision of a developed and self-reliant India.

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