Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday claimed that nine lakh women belonging to poor and vulnerable rural households would be empowered economically and socially under the Umeed programme.
"The estimated outlay for UMEED is Rs 755 crore, to be shared by the central and state governments, with the Centre contributing 90% of the cost. An amount of Rs 248 crore will be made available to self-help group members as seed capital in the next five years," he added.
The programme is aimed at capacity building and empowerment of women.
"Our target is to organise 90,000 women savings and credit-based self-help groups and their federations at village and block levels to address the socio-economic problems of women and empower them so they can overcome all difficulties," the CM claimed.
Addressing the beneficiaries of UMEED on Wednesday afternoon, he said 143 blocks and 4,098 gram panchayats would be covered under the programme in phases over the next five years. "In the first year, eight districts are being covered, and 14 will be covered in the second year," he added.
Adding that the government was aware of the need to address issues related to women, Omar said various measures have been initiated in this direction, besides effecting reservation for women in panchayat raj institutions.
"While women welfare comes under focus through various schemes being implemented by the social welfare department, healthcare issues of women and children are looked after across the state through the schemes carried forward by the health department," he said.
"Lar in Ganderbal, Khan Sahib in Budgam, Chenani in Udhampur and Basholi in Kathua have already been brought under UMEED as resource blocks, while 121 blocks will be covered by community resource persons from the resource blocks," he added.
In his address, rural development minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said UMEED was a revolutionary scheme aimed at addressing the problems of women in rural areas and empowering them to ameliorate their socio-economic lot.
'Lifestyle choice cannot be illegal'
Chief minister Omar Abdullah, disagreeing with the Supreme Court judgment ruling that gay sex is a criminal offence, has said if the court could order removal of red beacons for bringing equality, the same could be applied for the Indian Penal Code's Section 377, which deals with the subject. “Questions of morality or religion are not the issue. How can a lifestyle choice be illegal? SC removes red lights for equality yet not #377 [sic],” Omar posted on the micro-blogging website Twitter. The SC, in its judgment, held Section 377 of the IPC, which outlaws “sex against the order of nature”, constitutionally valid. The conviction carries a fine and a maximum 10-year jail sentence. In another tweet, the CM wrote, “People can take whatever stand their religious/moral beliefs dictate regarding #LGBT lifestyle choices but is terming it illegal not wrong?”