Shimla: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, nearly 1,000 rural women with the financial backing of the Himachal Pradesh government have been making hand-made designer 'rakhis' from household material that not only generates livelihood but also aims to reduce dependence on Chinese products.
For this, 200 self-help groups comprising 987 members have been actively involved in making the 'rakhis'.
"We have been providing financial assistance of Rs 40,000 to each self-help group to start an initiative of self-employment," Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Special Secretary Lalit Jain told IANS on Saturday.
He said making 'rakhis' is also part of the initiative.
Till date nearly 2,000 'rakhis' have been sold in the market by self-help groups with prices ranging from Rs 10-Rs 50.
This drive would also help in reviving the rural economy that is facing unprecedented challenges owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Himachal Pradesh has 18,500 self-help groups with nearly 1.70 lakh rural women as members.
This self-employed enterprise is linked to the call to boycott Chinese products, including 'rakhis' and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push to make India self-reliant.
Jain said the self-help group women from the rural pockets will be part of the indigenous rakhi-making initiative.
Silk threads, metals, sandalwood, glass beads, plastic beads and other materials are used for preparing the 'rakhis', which will be sold in known markets and makeshift stalls in the nearest city or market.
He said 200 women have been trained in making the handmade 'rakhis'.
[caption id="attachment_464544" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Hand-Made Rakhis Made By Women In Himachal Pradesh[/caption]
"We are in touch with local traders and shopkeepers to market their products. Vyapar Mandal traders said they would provide space to sell indigenously made 'rakhis'," Jain, the brain behind the initiative under the Himachal Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission, said.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan falls on August 3.
The self-help group movement has spread across the state and is now on a firm footing.
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