Uttarakhand entered 21st year of its existence on Monday with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat cataloguing steps taken by the state government to empower women, strengthen farmers and take development to the remote corners of the state. “Twenty-one years is not a very long time in the development journey of a state, but it is not a very short time either to take stock of things and decide whether or not we are moving in the right direction. Looking back, I can say development has definitely paced up in Uttarakhand in recent years,” Rawat said at a programme held at the policelines here to mark the states 21st foundation day.
Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh on November 9, 2000.
Describing women as the backbone of the states rural economy, Rawat highlighted steps taken by the state government to empower them as well as farmers.
“There are 30,000 women self-help groups (SHGs) in the state, out of which 18,000 are active. We are giving interest free loans of up to Rs 5 lakh to women through the SHGs and the rural growth centres. Similarly, we are soon going to hike the extent of interest-free loans being given to farmers from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh,” he said.
Citing the example of a woman entrepreneur named Prema Bhandari, Rawat said she had begun mushroom farming with a fund of a paltry sum of Rs 500 and today she earns Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a month.
Asking people to draw inspiration from the woman to make the most of the self-employment opportunities available to them, the chief minister spoke of the Mukhya Mantri Swarojgar Yojana and the Saur (solar) swarojgar yojana affiliated with the scheme to get on their feet without leaving their homes in search of livelihood.
The targeted beneficiaries of the scheme including the youth and migrants who have returned home after leaving their jobs in different parts of the country following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are to be allocated solar plants of 25 kw each, he said.
It will not only provide them employment but also promote production of green energy, he added.
In a video address issued separately on the occasion, Rawat spoke of the state governments policy of zero tolerance towards corruption which had “freed” the corridors of power from corrupt and mafia elements.
The chief minister also spoke of the change in the work culture of government departments brought about by a revised transfer policy.
He also detailed the steps taken to improve road and air connectivity and investments worth Rs 31,000 crore brought to the state after the 2018 investment summit.
“We have already attracted investments worth Rs 31,000 crore to Uttarakhand and set ourselves a target of increasing it to Rs 40,000 crore in a year or two,” Rawat said.
He said the construction of the new Kedarpuri township around the Himalayan temple symbolises the resilience of the people of Uttarakhand as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modis vision. Rawat said his government made Gairsain the summer capital of the state to honour the aspirations that had guided the prolonged struggle for statehood to Uttarakhand.
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