Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti today said that SARAS Aajeevika Mela is a testimony of Nari-Shakti, as lakhs of poor women through rural women Self Help Groups are transforming their lives and transforming rural India. She was speaking here after formally inaugurating the Mela at India Gate Lawns organized from 10th October to 23rd October, 2019. She said that the Mela is a true example of women empowerment as over 200 stalls have been set-up by nearly 500 rural SHG craftswomen from 29 States and UTs. They will show-case varied range of products like handicrafts, handlooms, natural food products and a food court with regional cuisines.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Rural Development Shri Amarjeet Sinha said that in the last four and half years the number of rural women joining self help groups have jumped from two and a half crore to nearly 6 crore 30 lakhs to better their lives and that of the society. He informed that till date about 88,000 crore rupees of loans were availed by SHGs and their NPA is mere 2 percent, which should be a matter of pride for all Indians. Shri Sinha said, at SARAS Mela, each stall, each product and each of the rural SHG women has a story to share, a story of victory over heavy odds.
SARAS AajeevikaMela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), Government of India, with an objective to bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed with support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their productsand help them build linkages with bulk buyers. Through participation in SARAS Aajeevika Mela, these rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers. The Mela is organised by the marketing arm of the Ministry, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).
Workshops for the rural SHG women would be conducted during the Mela, which will help them to enhance their knowledge and sharpen their skills in book keeping and GST, product design, packaging, marketing/e-marketing, communication skills etc.
The SARAS Aajeevika Mela at India Gate Lawnfeatures curated collection of handlooms, handicrafts, natural food products and food court withtraditional cuisines, for the esteemed residents of Delhi NCR. Some of the highlights of Mela are:
Showstopper at theMela would be the mouth-watering authentic delicacies from nearly 20 States, with a first of its kind food fest show-casing the diversity of India’s ethnic cuisine, at the India Food Court, prepared and served by SHG members.
Another attraction of theMela is the tamarind value chain from Jharkhand, portraying end-to-end journey right from plucking of tamarind, deseeding, cleaning and packaging to the final product on sale in the Demo Zone. Some of the programmatic interventions such as – PatrakarDidi (rural women journalists), BC Sakhi (women banking correspondent) and a live performance by all SHG women’s musical troupes Chendamelam from Kerala, Ghoomar from Rajasthan, tribal dance and nukkadnatakfrom Jharkhand, Cheraw (Bamboo dance) from Mizoram and Gidda from Punjab, as an integrated approach towards women empowerment, would also be show-cased.