Sunday, April 2, 2023

SHG to SME: INVEST IN HER! : Women Transforming Odisha District Level Investor’s Meet of ‘Make In Odisha Conclave 2022’ at Sundargarh

Sundargarh : Sundargarh is identified as an industrial district in the map of Odisha. Steel Plant, Fertilizer Plant, Cement factory, Ferro Vanadium Plant, Machine building factory, Glass and china clay factory and Spinning mills are some of the major industries of this District. Sundargarh occupies a prominent position in the mineral map of Odisha and is rich in iron ore, limestone, manganese, dolomite, and fire clay. Major industries are the Odisha Cements ltd, Hart Fertilizers Ltd, and Odisha Industries Ltd. The industrial town of Rourkela in this District has the first government sector plant built with foreign collaboration. To explore this rich mineral heritage of the district and discover its potential clubbed with the presence of 28,000 strongly driven women SHGs; ‘SHG to SME: INVEST IN HER’; a District level Investors’ Meet of ‘Make In Odisha Conclave 2022’ was organized today at the Bikash Bhawan (Infront of DRDA), Sundergarh district by the Department of Mission Shakti (Government of Odisha) on the 14th of November 2022.
The Make In Odisha Conclave’22 is the flagship investor summit of the Government of Odisha. After the resounding success of the event in 2016 and 2018, the state has decided to organize the third edition of the event from November 30 to December 04, 2022.
The ‘SHG to SME: INVEST IN HER’ at Sundargarh tendered a stage for business leaders from across the district as well as the district administrative officials and women SHG leaders to survey and strategize a coalition to script successful entrepreneurial journeys that correspond with overall developmental objectives of the district.
The event started with the ‘Dipa Prajwalana’ or the ‘Lighting of the Lamp’ ritual of offering prayers to Lord Jagannath followed by opening remarks from CDO-cum-EO-Zilla Parishad of Sundargarh Shri Bhairab Singh Patel.
Thereupon, the Mission Shakti anthem; a song featuring women power, was played which was followed by special address from the Commissioner-Cum-Secretary for Dept. of Mission Shakti, Smt. Sujata R Karthikeyan (IAS). Speaking virtually, the Commissioner spoke about the main objective of the Make in Odisha which is to strengthen the SHG groups in becoming SMEs.
In her address, the Commissioner spoke about the main objective of the Make in Odisha which is to strengthen the SHG groups in becoming SMEs. Mission Shakti comprises of about 70L women across over 6L Self Help groups; therefore their individual level development and economic empowerment will inevitably improve overall State’s economic profile. She thanked the District administration for helping the SHG groups by providing administrative support and highlighted the fact that the SHGs across the industrial towns of the district are extremely innovative and ambitious. “Mission Shakti, which started as a scheme is no longer just that but a full-fledged Department under the State Government with a stipulated budget and mechanism at place for smooth rolling of its programs towards upliftment and progress of Women SHGs. Now the time is to take this another notch higher; that is to launch SHGs as successful SMEs who are able to operate as micro level conglomerates”; Madam Secretary added. With a plethora of Market Opportunities in towns like Rourkela; Sundargarh SHGs have added advantage of enthusiastic investors willing to support SHGs in their products and services through various Value Addition methodologies/processes like packaging/branding, establish market linkages etc. “Only in Sundargarh itself, the banks have advances/loans of over Rs. 300 Crs. lent to SHGs only which is commendable. The most demanded SHGs are those working with the Millet based products and sub-products”; she said. She also applauded the various achievements of the Dibyajyoti SHG. She also emphasized if institutional linkages can be established and urged investors and business houses to support this so that the primary challenges revolving around packaging and marketing can be curbed and dealt with.
Shri Binod Jena, Joint Secretary Mission Shakti presented before the congregation how the government has till date supported Women SHGs in their journeys towards financial independence and empowerment. He also showed the various avenues and opportunities that can be discovered and tapped on to help Women SHGs as women empowerment and progressive policy making to encourage the empowerment are of utmost importance to the government. At 10.1 %, Odisha economy is one of the fastest growing economies and putting Women SHG in the forefront will give them an edge over other players. Also highlighted that Odisha is the only state in the country promoting SHGs extensively. He stated that for successful implementation of conducive policies the government did 3 things; that is:- Policy Action or modifying policies intermittently to prefer Women SHGs over other (e.g: Modification of GP Act), Partnership with MSME department or extending subsidies/benefits to Women SHGs preferably due to MOU with MSME department and finally Infrastructural setup by constructing Mission Shakti houses across every block and panchayat, for SHG members, to conduct meetings, hold trainings, organize events etc and convert unused building into operational centres for SHGs. Also mentioned about Mission Shakti Village coming up in the Jajpur in collaboration with Jajpur Administration within a budget of 8 Cr.
Two Women SHG members, one from the Dibyajyoti SHG group; Smt. Prema Das talked about their group successful Millet product business and their iconic trip to the city of Paris for the same. The group started off in the year 2009 with mushroom cultivation but soon ventured into Millet produce and derived products with the help of govt. and bank loan from HDFC. Now the group is successfully generating a revenue in lakhs every month and has also received various accolades from other states and also in foreign lands for their product quality and type.
Another Smt. Rajalakhmi Das from Dhanalakhmi SHG also talked about her group’s Millet products business. Started off in the year 2017 with a meagre loan of 80000, the group slowly scaled up with improved machinery by extending their loan amount to 10L after successful sales. Now producing 60kg Millet Biscuits, 100 Kgs Millet breakfast mix every day from machinery production support and are able to sell their products. The group wishes to further explore market opportunities and grow into broader segments.
Three Women Entrepreneurs presented about corporate tie-ups and the Millet and Hospitality Industry’s support.
Smt. Arpita Patnaik from HBT (Humara Bachpan Trust); an international award winning foundation, presented HBT’s continuous interventions since 2020 in the areas of women and adolescent girls’ empowerment through globally Certified Life Skills Training programs in the Bonai Sub-division. She also announced HBT’s Corporate Tie-ups with Baitarani Initiative and Jivada Ventures Pvt. Ltd. To promote and support women SHG in Medicinal Herb derived products and Mohue Flower Vlaue addition products respectively.
Smt. Shayam Jha of Magic Millet Foundation and Smt. Sanveen Kaur Oberoi of Oberoi Hospitality presented before the crowd their organizational objectives and future plans to support and extend all kinds of support to Women SHGs engaged in to their area of business. They both talked standardization of products or recipes, training women SHG members in packaging and branding of their products to make it marketable and also providing with market forums to sell on a large scale.
Dr. Parag Harshad Gavali (IAS), Collector-cum-District Magistrate of Sundargarh stated how important this event was in terms of serving a promoting stage to women SHG members of the district. He stressed on the prevailing issues being faced by Women SHGs of the district and how efficiently leading industrialists and established business houses can help in this. He congratulated 3 industries for extending support in form of tie-ups that is OCL Dalmia at 1 cr NTPC at 1 lakh per year and Vedanta at 20L per year to SHGs. The Collector also appreciated the efforts of the administration in the past and also assured all possible help in future.
The event ended with a vote of thanks and an applauding closing remark from the Addl. District Magistrate of Sundargarh; Shri Rabi Narayan Sahu.

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