Mrunal Manmay Dash

During the Odisha visit, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and members at party office in Bhubaneswar on Friday where she highlighted several schemes introduced.

Addressing the gathering, Sitharaman said, “The first thing that came to mind while drafting the budget of this year was the women SHGs and how to empower them by giving more money in their hands.”

“SHGs, whether of rural or urban, will be taken together to form a larger organisation. Provisions are being made to strengthen SHGs and a global market linkage mechanism will be created for women SHG members to sell their products,” Sitharaman said.

“The Centre has been trying to include the SHGs in the mainstream digital marketing by handling their accounts through a professional,” she said.

“The next big provision in this budget is the Mahila Samman Bachat Patra. It is aimed to keep some savings in the names of women. Under this scheme, women will be provided a fixed interest of 7.5 percent at any bank they keep their savings account irrespective of the bank rates. The scheme will be available for next two years and the depositors can withdraw up to 40 percent of their savings under this scheme.

There is Pradhan Mantri Vikash Scheme to promote handicrafts and folk arts. Vishwakarma Yojana has been designed to assist artisans like sculptors, pattachitra artists etc," Sitharaman said.

Earlier on the day, she had addressed a press conference in Bhubaneswar where she clarified that Odisha or any state for that matter will not be awarded Special Category Status.

(Reported By Niranjan Reddy, OTV)