Cassian Baliarsingh

At the two-day senior IAS Officers’ Conference, major emphasis on Mission Shakti and women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) has raised eyebrows as the Opposition accused the Naveen-led BJD of strengthening its vote bank.

This is a special strategy by the government to strengthen its vote bank through SHGs and Mission Shakti, the Opposition alleged. 

Apart from routine works, the government has decided to rope in SHGs in many other departmental works. Reports suggest, they will be part of 5T committees in school and will be included in monitoring forest fires in villages. The government aims to transform at least 50,000 SHGs into Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the next three years.

This apart, the government has planned to construct industrial parks for women in every district. District Collectors have been directed to allocate land as soon as possible for the industrial park construction work to begin. The concerned officials have reportedly been directed to finish construction work within next three years.
However, the Opposition questioned the government’s intention highlighting such excessive focus on SHGs.

“The recent announcement by the Centre to provide free rice to 3.25 crore people in Odisha has broken the vote bank of BJD. So, they have now shifted their focus to SHGs. They will fool women of Odisha to keep their vote bank alive. But, they will not succeed in their evil intentions,” alleged Mohan Majhi, Opposition Chief Whip.

Congress leader Ganeswar Behera voiced similar concerns and said, “Government has been eyeing women votes since long. They have been making a fool of people with their fake promises. They have claimed to set up the industrial parks in three years, but I doubt they will finish it even in 10 years.”

However, the ruling party refuted the accusations. Speaking to OTV, Prasanta Muduli, BJD MLA said, “This is not for votes. All efforts are being made to increase women participation in all the sectors, help them rise in the society and live a dignified life.” 

(Reported by Bibartan Panda, Jagdish Dash and Harihar Chand, OTV)