The biggest challenge before the government is the problem of providing jobs:Dr Mukul

Tura, October 04: In an Entrepreneurship Awareness Programme that continued for the second day, the Chief Minister Dr. Mukul  Sangma  doled out important business and entrepreneurship tips to the gathering of hundreds of Self-Help Group (SHG) members and EFC partners at SMELC Building, here at Dakopgre on Wednesday.

The day-long programme was organized by the West Garo Hills District Administration & DRDA in collaboration with IBDLP and the line departments for SHGs and EFC partners to create awareness on entrepreneurship and business opportunities under various schemes of the State Government.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister reiterated that the biggest challenge before the government is the problem of providing jobs which he said has to be understood with complete clarity and the problem can only be addressed collectively by all concerned departments and all the stakeholders by identifying the spaces available for livelihood other than the space in the government sector. In this regard, he said that the first thing would be to change the thinking process among the people and the people of Garo Hills and said that the SHGs are best partners to carry forward the programme of the government of promoting entrepreneurship to the people.

Referring to the queries on the number of missions being launched in the state, the Chief Minister spoke of the number of programmes launched by the Central Government, one after the other, but which have failed to deliver as they were mostly taken up on a piecemeal approach and not on a mission-mode. “If one intervention is not enough to achieve the desired objective then something has to be done to ensure its fructification for the larger interest of all the people concerned.

In this connection, he referred to the Livelihood Intervention and Facilitation of Entrepreneurship (LIFE) project which was launched recently. The Chief Minister called this programme the most inclusive approach of the government, unlike many of the programmes launched by the Centre which are meant only for BPL families, to promote various income generating activities for economic prosperity of the people and urged upon the SHG partners to take advantage of the same.  The LIFE project is aimed at bringing all the poor and vulnerable women into the SHG movement and is being implemented in the line with National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in the remaining non - NRLM blocks with an objective to support the community through the SHG formation and strengthening of the existing SHGs.

Dwelling on the number of livelihood opportunities based on the readily available natural resources in their backyard, the Chief Minister laid emphasize on the need identify all the spaces available for livelihood, creation of value chain and generating demand for their products. He also laid stress on the need to inculcate the habit of saving and called for having financial literacy programmes side by side as while promoting entrepreneurship in the rural areas. He also urged upon the SHGs to use the money they save as seed money for taking up different business activities.

He urged upon the district administration and all line departments to continue with this kind of sensitization programmes on entrepreneurship development at the block levels with the help of partners like Bakdil NGO and other organizations to give capacity building trainings to for taking up entrepreneurship, including packaging and marketing solutions.

West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner, Pravin Bakshi , while expressing  his deep sense of appreciation to the Chief Minister for conceptualizing the programme for promoting entrepreneurship among the masses, assured that all the departments concerned and the blocks would be taking forward the programme to further reach out to the people in the rural areas.

Director of Bakdil, Fr. Sunny, in his brief interaction with the SHGs, called for strengthening of SHG movement in the next five years saying that the only way to bring change in Garo Hills was through SHGs and also by developing the habit of saving.

ADC & PD, DRDA, D.D.Shira in his key note address, highlighted on schemes to promote and facilitate entrepreneurs, while Director, MBDA/MBMA Western Zone, Daniel J. Ingty gave a presentation on MGNREGS and IBDLP with a focus on entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities.

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