Guwahati: In a significant move to uplift women in Assam, the state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, has launched an ambitious scheme aimed at transforming around 39 lakh women Self-Help Group (SHG) members into Rural Micro Entrepreneurs, affectionately known as “Lakhpati Baideos” or sisters. The primary objective is to ensure an annual income of Rs 1 lakh for each member.
To facilitate this transformative initiative, the government is allocating a substantial budget of Rs 3900 Crore, emphasising the promotion of entrepreneurship among women. Chief Minister Sarma outlined the eligibility criteria, stating that beneficiaries from General and OBC categories should not have more than three children, while SC/ST/Moran/Matak/Tea-tribes’ beneficiaries should not exceed four children.
An innovative aspect of the scheme involves encouraging education, particularly for girl children. SHG members with a girl child are required to enrol them in school once they reach the eligible age. Additionally, the success of the scheme is tied to the survival of trees planted under the Amrit Brikshya Andolan initiative.
The application process for the scheme involves submitting a business plan, a crucial step for availing the grant. The government will extend support in the plan-making process. In the first year, eligible members receive Rs 10,000, followed by Rs 12,500 annually from both the government and a bank over the next two years (totaling Rs 25,000). While the bank loan is repayable, the government’s support of Rs 35,000 is non-refundable and spread over three years.
Chief Minister Sarma expressed, “To fulfil Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s vision of building 2 crore Lakhpati Didis, today we’ve proudly unveiled a new effort to offer Rs 35,000 financial assistance to 39 lakh women.”
Chief Minister Sarma proudly announced that due to sustained government support, an impressive 7 lakh women members of self-help groups (SHG) in Assam have achieved the status of lakhpati. These remarkable numbers are expected to see a significant surge with the release of the official data at the end of the current financial year. Notably, the BJP-led government, under the leadership of Himanta Biswa Sarma, has taken substantial steps to empower women economically. Since 2021, nearly 12 lakh women borrowers in the state have benefited from the government’s decision to waive microfinance loans. Eligible borrowers with outstanding amounts of up to 75 thousand had their loans repaid to various microfinance institutions by the state government. A substantial investment of ₹2,000 crores has been allocated to clear the dues of these 12 lakh borrowers, reflecting the government’s commitment to fostering financial inclusivity and empowerment in Assam.
Looking ahead, the Assam government plans to extend the initiative in February to include an additional 42,85,745 new ration card holders or over 10 lakhs households, emphasising a saturation model for certain schemes. This visionary approach reflects a commitment to empowering women economically and fostering sustainable development in the state.