Rural employment scheme makes many women self-reliant

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DHAKA, June 15, 2021 (BSS) – Bangladesh made tremendous progress in its 50 years of independence. The country’s womenfolk are also advancing fast. They are making huge contributions to the country’s economy by keeping rolling its wheels after working shoulder to shoulder with the males.

The present government has taken various steps for women development aimed at balanced growth. These measures taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for women development and empowerment have been highly praised by all quarters.

‘Samannita Palli Karmasangsthan Sahayata Prakalpa’ (Coordinated Rural Employment Project) is such an initiative. Once these programmes are implemented, the welfare of the womenfolk who are plagued by poverty at the grassroots will be ensured and could make more contributions to the economy of their family as self-reliant.

Officials familiar with the project said the government is expanding further the scheme which will be implemented by the Ministry of LGRD and Cooperatives. If the scheme is executed, it will be possible to raise the per capita annual income of the beneficiaries, who get training and loan, to Taka 10,000 on an average by June 2025, they said.

A savings fund of Taka 3,000 per head for the women beneficiaries and Taka 5,000 for the school-going girls will be created by 2025 and for this, Taka 346.55 crore have been earmarked.

Sources concerned said the grassroots low income people are becoming poorer from poor after falling into the trap of credit, and this initiative has been taken so that they don’t face such a situation.

‘Samannita Palli Karmasangsthan Sahayata Prakalpa’ had been undertaken for the poverty-hit women of different regions of the country. The project will be expanded this time in order to pave the way for taking decisions by the women in the society alongside making them self-reliant economically.

While talking about the project, S M Masudur Rahman, director (planning) of the Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB), the implementing organisation, said the first phase of the scheme was evaluated by the division concerned. Recommendations were made to extend it to the second phase.

Sources concerned said after the formation of the government in 1996, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Jashore in 1997 and declared that she was undertaking a special initiative for development of women, creating employment and empowerment for them in the region.

As part of the initiative, a project was implemented in 21 upazilas in four districts of greater Jashore, and its tenure was from July 1998 to June 2003.

Later, the first phase of the scheme was executed in 59 upazilas of Khulna and Barishal divisions from 2012 to 2018 by spending Taka 156.88 crore. In its continuation, a proposal was made to implement the second phase.

To this end, Md Rashid Uddin, the project director of the first phase, said a scope for employment has been created for the rural women through implementing the first phase and many have been able to come out of the vicious circle of poverty.

“A proposal has been made for the second phase of the project on the basis of the success of its first phase,” he said.

The BRDB will implement the scheme in 472 unions under 59 upazilas in 17 districts of Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Rangpur divisions.

Planning Commission’s Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Organisation Division member Zakir Hossain Akand has been given responsibility to oversee the project.

He said if the scheme is implemented successfully, massive socioeconomic development, including poverty alleviation, will take
place among different communities in four divisions.