Women Self Help Groups excelled in fight against COVID: Dr Jitendra Singh

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh today said that Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) had excelled in fight against COVID and their contribution was vital in helping Northeast emerge as a model of Corona management.

He said, women power (Matrashakti) took a lead in every sphere during the COVID crisis, and also in sustaining economic activity in the North Eastern region.

Interacting with various Self Help Groups associated with North Eastern Region Community Resource and Management Program (NERCORMP) through a Webinar, Dr Jitendra Singh said , Northeast had emerged as a model of development in the last five years under the Modi Government and in the sixth year, it emerged as a role model of Corona management with relatively much lesser number of positive cases and only 17 cases of death in all the eight States so far.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, North Eastern Region will take a lead for India to emerge as an economic power with the support of its huge natural and human skill resources in the Post-COVID era.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had always accorded highest priority to Northeast. Soon after the Modi government took over in 2014, Prime Minister had stated that every effort would be made to bring the North Eastern region at par with the more developed regions of the country. In the last six years, not only developmental gaps were bridged successfully, but North- Eastern Region has also gained psychological confidence.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, North Eastern Region will take a lead for India to emerge as an economic power with the support of its huge natural and human skill resources in the Post-COVID era. He said, Bamboo is vital to India's Post- COVID economy and will provide an opportunity for India to emerge as an economic power house with the support of its Bamboo and other resources, apart from the huge tourism potential the region will offer in coming season because of being relatively Corona free.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, Northeast consists 60% of India's reserve of Bamboo and it is a great advantage that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi this sector has received the kind of boost which it had never received since independence.

In this regard, he referred to the amendment in the 100-year-old Indian Forest Act brought about by the Modi government in 2017, as a result of which, home grown bamboo has been exempted from it in order to enhance livelihood opportunities through bamboo. He also promised to organize an Exhibition of products of Self Help Groups in the national capital after the Corona Pandemic is over.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that there has been a significant development in terms of Road, Rail and Air connectivity, helping facilitate the movement of goods and persons not only across the region but also across the country. States Like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya which had not seen Railways hitherto are now connected with Railways with the national capital. Similarly, States like Sikkim has seen an Airport for the first time.

Other States are also witnessing the opening of new airports or augmenting the facilities and capacities of the existing ones. He also informed that a new Film and Television Institute after Pune will come up in Arunachal Pradesh soon.

Referring to 14 Aspirational districts of Northeast, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the concept of Aspirational District was based on 49 key indicators, of which the status of healthcare was an important component and said that best practices of Aspirational Districts would be shared with the rest of India.

Most of the Women Self Help Group members informed the Minister that the revolving fund received from the North Eastern Region Community Resource and Management Program (NERCORMP) has changed their life for better. Apart from the desired impetus given to the projects like Horticulture, Tea, Bamboo, Piggery, Sericulture, Tourism, the SHG members also produced and distributed sanitizer and masks on a large scale. They also pooled resources to distribute free rations to the needy during the lockdown period.

Apart from SHGs of North-Eastern States, senior officers from and North Eastern Council (NEC) Shillong also participated in the Webinar.

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PTI