Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Women SHGs to run Shimla's book cafes: Minister

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | September 16, 2022 06:08 PM

SHIMLA:Women-run self-help groups (SHGs) under Deendayal Antyoday Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) will run Shimla's newly constructed book cafes, Himachal Pradesh's Minister for Urban Development Suresh Bhardwaj said on Friday.

He will launch this concept on Saturday at Chaura Maidan book cafe.

Bhardwaj said that book cafes have been constructed under the Smart City mission in Shimla town. "Book cafes at Chaura Maidan and Chota Shimla were inaugurated recently. We examined different models to run these book cafes. Now, we have decided that women linked with self-help groups registered under DAY-NULM scheme will run these cafes," he said.

"I had promised to provide a market space to women SHGs in urban areas. So this will be a unique concept. Besides showcasing and selling their products, women will manage the government-owned book cafes."

Shimla has more than 200 self-help groups. The Municipal Corporation's NULM division will coordinate with the SHGs.

"They will ensure the transparency in the business," he added.

Bhardwaj said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always laid emphasis on DAY-NULM to strengthen women. "Life of urban poor is difficult as they do not even have the agricultural land or have limited livelihood opportunities. This scheme has been transforming the lives of many," he said.

Whenever the minister visited fairs or exhibitions, SHGs raised the issue of marketing. "We are working on packaging and branding but providing a marketplace was a major issue," he said.

He said the Chaura Maidan book cafe will also help to ease out stress on the library near Vidhan Sabha. "Idea behind this concept was to ensure that this property is used for readers' purposes, besides providing a platform for SHGs, instead of commercialising the space," he added.

The minister, who also holds the portfolio of the Cooperation Department, said he was also contemplating a cooperative model for these SHGs. "A lot of work has been done in this sector. A lot of funds have been spent as seed money or on the training of women. Now the time has come to federate these SHGs or to have a society where these SHGs need less government support and move towards the model of self-sustainability," he said.

The minister added women SHG running book cafe is the beginning of a self-sustainability model for these women.

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