Chingai MLA Khashim Vashum has urged local self-help groups (SHGs) to grasp the opportunity of Van Dhan Vikas Kendra implementation in Ukhrul district and make sincere efforts to carve a niche for themselves in rural entrepreneurship.
The Van Dhan scheme, launched by PM Narendra Modi on 14 April, 2018 is considered as a master plan for the socio-economic development of the tribal population of the country.
He said “since its inception, the scheme has proved to be a successful initiative of the government, and has tremendously improved the economy of rural communities across the country.”
“I’m appealing to you all to give the best for your Van Dhan projects so you can ultimately uplift the economy of the community as a whole,” MLA Khashim exhorted a group of women folk representing 19 SHGs under Van Dhan Vikas Kendra of Chingai block.
The MLA formally launched the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra for Chingai Block in the presence of Chingai SDO L Thangal, Ukhrul Addl SP Ringthing Hongchui and Ukhrul DFO Shanngam Shali during a one-day advocacy programme held at Ukhrul Forest Division office in Ukhrul town on August 28.
Speaking as chief guest, Mr. Khashim advocated on the principle of diligence and perseverance, saying “don’t belittle your work. Start small and grow big.”
“No matter how small you start off, you will definitely succeed, if you work hard with sincerity,” he said, citing examples of successful enterprises in the state like Zingran Foods, Likla and others.
Underscoring the need for hard work, MLA Khashim challenged the SHGs to prove their capabilities in various trades. “I don’t hear words, I only watch action,” he said.
“Help and cooperate one another so there will be growth and prosperity for all,” he said urging the women groups to work in the spirit of unity.
As a token of his support and encouragement to the SHGs, the MLA extended a financial assistance of Rs. 2000 each to all the SHGs from his end. He also supported the master trainer Pemmichon Tungshang, proprietor of Ukhrul-based Zingran Foods, with Rs. 10,000 recognising her work as a master trainer for the SHGs under the scheme.
He said “the prime focus of the scheme is to help the country’s poor tribal population optimize utilization of natural resources. It is promoting conservation of forest by emphasizing the potential of natural resources in uplifting the rural tribal economic system and thus, it discourages wanton activities causing destruction to the forest.”
For years, the district has witnessed depleting forest cover due to unchecked deforestation. He observed “people tend to take forest and its rich resources for granted. This is one reason why our people often failed to harvest the benefits of our forest produces despite abundant availability, and hence, the miserable economy.”
Mr. Khashim gave a clarion call to all, stressing on the need to recognize the true value of forest and its produces which are naturally available in abundance in the district.
Attending the event as guests of honour, Additional SP Ukhrul Ringthing Hongchui and Chingai SDO L Thangal dwelt on the importance of Van Dhan scheme in improving the rural economy.
“This is a big step towards improving our economy,” Hongchui said, referring to the implementation of the scheme in the district.
He observed that failure of the hill people to tap the potentials of natural resources has resulted in unemployment and economic crisis, and expressed hope that the scheme would help in addressing the same.
According to SDO Thangal, Van Dhan is a special initiative of the government which seeks to uplift the economy of the forest dwelling tribal population of the country by increasing the value of forest produces through value addition.
Stating that the scheme is also designed to give financial empowerment to rural women folks, he urged the SHG members to put in innovative ideas in producing their products.
DFO Ukhrul Shanngam Shali said that the forest department is in the process of setting up 10 clusters in the district and added that each of the Van Dhan cluster will have 300 members.
He informed that the government will also provide a financial assistance of Rs. 15 lakhs for each cluster.
Van Dhan is a component of the ‘Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and is being implemented by TRIFED as the nodal agency across the nation.
“As such, it seeks to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans,” he said.
A range of equipment and tools for food processing and embroidery and tailoring machines along with Rs. 5000 each were provided to all the SHGs under the scheme.
Informing that training will begin shortly, master trainer Tungshang said the training will impart technical know-hows of food processing and others. “We will integrate modern technology into our traditional knowledge and skill sets.”
(Courtesy: The Reportaze)