Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu Saturday launched a scheme with an objective to provide a platform for women Self Help Groups (SHGs), and a competition to boost entrepreneurship at the district level in Maharashtra.
The scheme, 'Hirkani Maharashtrachi', and 'District Business Plan Competition' will be driven by the Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS), which comes under the state departments of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, with execution support from the respective districts.
Addressing Collectors of all 36 districts of Maharashtra through a video conference, Prabhu said, "Under the 'Hirkani Maharashtrachi', women's SHGs will pitch their business plan at taluka level".
Ministers of State, district guardian ministers, MPs, MLAs and Zilla Parishad presidents from respective places also attended the video conference.
"Altogether 10 groups will be selected from each taluka and Rs 50,000 will be given to each SHG to implement their idea while five SHGs at district level will be selected and Rs 2 lakh will be given to each SHG to take the idea forward," the Union minister said, adding that the scheme will be completely backed by the Central government.
He also underlined the importance of women's participation in implementing the scheme.
According to a legend, 'Hirkani' was a milkmaid who lived at the base of the Raigad fort during the times of Chhatrapati Shivaji. She is known for climbing down the vertical Raigad cliff to breastfed her baby.
Under the District Business Plan Competition, competitors at district level will pitch ideas, out of which five ideas will be selected from agriculture, social service, education and miscellaneous categories, and work order worth Rs 5 lakh will be given to the five selected ideas, Prabhu said.
He said such ideas could not be materialised in the past due to lack of funding and platforms.
"Through these schemes and competition, the best ideas will be shortlisted and such entrepreneurs will be given work order by the government," he said.
Assuring the Centre's support for the programme, Prabhu said the winners of the District Business Plan competition will get a chance to interact with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.