In a first, Bathinda to see rural women baking for bucks
After a successful pilot project of running a bakery at Bathinda’s Aklia Jalal village to empower rural women, the Punjab State Rural Livelihood Mission is coming up with a snacks production unit at a large scale with the help of a panchayat of Sivian village.
After a successful pilot project of running a bakery at Bathinda’s Aklia Jalal village to empower rural women, the Punjab State Rural Livelihood Mission (PSRLM) is coming up with a snacks production unit at a large scale with the help of a panchayat of Sivian village.
Located on Bathinda’s periphery, the panchayat of Sivian has passed a resolution to give one-acre land for this ambitious project.
Bathinda’s additional deputy commissioner (development) RP Singh said the upcoming ₹2.50 crore bakery unit is aimed to rope in more than 300 women from Sivian.
The upcoming bakery will be the first-of-its-kind in Punjab under the center-state collaborated scheme meant to benefit the rural women.
Project at Sivian has the potential to produce 6 lakh kg bakery products in 300 working days, will generate extra income for women self-help group (SHG) members and it will help them in upgrading their socio-economic status, he added.
“Started in February 2020, a bakery started at a small scale at Aklia Jalal gave encouraging results. Though its functioning was hit intermittently due to Covid-induced restrictions, it recorded a monthly net saving of ₹ 40,000 that was shared equally among five members of the SHG. Our PSRLM team helped these women in forming a SHG and building and promoting Aajeevika brand to sell cookies, bread and other products. Now we have planned to replicate a similar project at a larger scale for which the Sivian panchayat has extended full support,” said Singh, the ex-officio mission director.
PSRLM is a poverty alleviation project implemented by the union ministry of rural development where the scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and the organisation of the rural poor. For the Sivian project, 60% funds would be provided by the Center and the state government would contribute the rest 40% amount.
Groundwork by the officials says there was a good market for various bakery and bhujia products in schools, canteens of government offices and the open market.
Sivian sarpanch Harinder Kaur said the village has about 600 women associated with nearly 50 SHGs.
“We hail the initiative that would give new employment avenues to the rural community,” she said.
PSRLM district functional officer Sukhwinder Singh said the basic idea behind this program is to organise the poor into SHG groups to start some entrepreneurial activities and make them capable of self-employment.
“Young relatives of SHG women can be employed at the upcoming unit. Villagers can be trained in sales, as machine operators or managers. The entrepreneurial zeal and managerial skill will be developed in SHG members,” he added.