Odisha announces aid for women's groups

Bhubaneswar, Feb 11 (IANS) In an attempt to win the hearts of women in the state, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday announced financial assistance for one lakh women's self help groups in the state.

Each self-help group will receive Rs.10,000 in 2013-14 under Mission Shakti -- a campaign the state government launched in 2001 to empower women economically, a senior official of the office of the chief minister told IANS.

According to him, the state has a total of 4.8 lakh women self-help groups.

Only those groups at least three years old and with at least Rs.5,000 in the bank account would be eligible for the latest assistance, he said.

The assistance would go to groups in urban and rural areas, to enable them to become self-sufficient.

Earlier this month the state government announced similar assistance for 4,000 youth clubs in urban areas.

Each club will be given a one-time grant of Rs.10,000 for purchase of sports equipment and organisation of cultural events.

Opposition parties have described both the decisions as election gimmicks, and said Patnaik has been trying to buy votes for the 2014 general elections.

Matches