Sonia inaugurates Aajeevika Diwas 2013, bats for women empowerment

New Delhi, June 3 (ANI): UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who inaugurated Aajeevika Diwas 2013 here on Monday, said the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) is the largest women empowerment programme in the world and it will cover two-third of the country's population in next five years.

Gandhi described the National Rural Livelihoods Mission as an important programme of the UPA, and claimed that in no other country of the world, such an ambitious and huge scheme for the empowerment of women exists.

"Today everybody has proved that this programme can free women from the curse of poverty," said Gandhi.

"Our purpose is clear. We have to strengthen the women SHGs and their instruments financially," she added.

The UPA chairperson also maintained that the empowerment of weaker sections and women has been the Centre's main focus.

Gandhi said that there is a lot more needs to be done for the financial empowerment of women.

She also sought quick implementation of Aajeevika mission across the nation, especially its central and eastern parts.

The Congress President said that the empowerment of weaker sections and women has been the main pillar of the UPA Government at the Centre.

Gandhi said seven crore BPL families have to be freed from poverty in the next ten years, and added that it is not an easy job.

Noting that the UPA Government has initiated measures for the social and financial empowerment of women in Jammu and Kashmir through the instrument of women SHGs, Gandhi said: "In the next five years, we hope to reach this programme to two thirds of the families in the state. I have been told that its result is very positive and we will see its many successes soon."

"Similarly, a special package is being prepared for North Eastern states and hilly states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh," she added.

Aajeevika is a flagship programme of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) under the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).

It intends to over seven crore rural households, across 623 districts, 6,000 blocks, 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, and six lakh villages in the country.

The state governments have established State Rural Livelihoods Mission (SRLM) to house dedicated structure at state, district and block level to implement multiple program components.

The core belief of National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) is that the poor have innate capabilities and a strong desire to come out of poverty.

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh was also present at the second anniversary of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission that was celebrated here today. (ANI)

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