Calling upon the women entrepreneurs to reap maximum benefit out of zero interest scheme and spread the word so that other women can also avail of the benefits and take a leap towards their economic empowerment, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor under Mission Youth on the occasion of International Women’s Day, announced ‘Tejaswani’ scheme to provide financial assistance to girl in the age group of 18 to 35 to start their business.

Strengthening Women Entrepreneurs Ecosystem in J&K, the Lt Governor also announced a new scheme – Tejaswini under Mission Youth, to provide financial assistance of Rs 5 lakhs to the girls between the age group of 18 to 35 years to start their business.

“Mission Youth will provide 10 % of the project cost and will also pay the interest every year”, said the Lt Governor while addressing the audience virtually at the International Women’s Day celebrations event held at Government College for Women, MA Road, Srinagar.

The event witnessed major reforms being made by the Government for empowering the girl students and women of J&K, with Lieutenant Governor Sinha making major announcements that will facilitate the education and entrepreneurship of female folks of the UT.

Keeping in view of this year’s theme of International Women’s Day i.e “Choose to Challenge” and to celebrate Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav- [email protected], the Lt Governor announced the launch of Super-75 scholarship scheme to support the education of meritorious girls belonging to poor families, so that they can excel in streams like Medicine, Engineering, ITI and Humanity, and contribute to nation building.

“A new era of change and development is ushering in J&K, a change that will provide women their rightful place, a voice, an identity, and individuality. We are making tireless efforts to ensure women’s safety, modern education, and economic independence”, the Lt Governor maintained.

Acknowledging women’s role in economic development of J&K, the Lt Governor stressed on the need to put more focus on some key areas like creating a positive environment; skill development of women entrepreneurs; facilitating financial assistance; providing global market to women entrepreneurs and connecting them with innovative products.

“We have to work together to break the barriers for the economic development of women”, he added.

The Lt Governor observed that J&K has a long history of women glory to bring social change and breaking new grounds as far as gender equality and professional development is concerned.

He said that to lay a strong foundation for the girls, no fee will be charged upto 12th standard from 5,89,000 girl students who took admission in different government run schools and observed that 88 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya and 88 Girls Hostels have been made functional in far flung areas and this would help in filling the gender gap and controlling the girl child dropout rate. To assist the higher education of girls, the Government is also providing 13 different scholarship schemes.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not just about scenic beauty. There are so many strong historical facts that prove the capabilities of our women, their grace, compassion, courage, knowledge, spirituality and wisdom that made it a beautiful paradise”, he added.

“I salute the courage and determination of every woman of Jammu and Kashmir. Today is an opportunity to come together and celebrate women’s contributions in different fields”, said the Lt Governor.

He lauded the young women achievers for making significant contributions to the welfare of society and making J&K proud.

The Lt Governor made special mention of women achievers like Rabia Altaf, Aisha Aziz, Irfana Zargar and asked the others to take inspiration from them who now have become examples of women empowerment.

Speaking on the increasing enrolment of girl students in higher education, the Lt Governor expressed satisfaction on noting that the gross enrolment ratio of girls has been increased to 50 percent.

Highlighting various initiatives taken by the government for the promotion of skill development, the Lt Governor said, “few days ago, Mission Youth in collaboration with Bombay Stock Exchange imparted skill development training in banking and financial services in which more than 25 percent women participated”.

“I want the ecosystem of women entrepreneurs in J&K to be the best across the country, for that, public participation is a must. Every individual has to work collectively for safety, security and economic empowerment of women”, the Lt Governor maintained.

Later, the Lt Governor interacted with the women achievers present on the occasion and assured full cooperation and support of the government in their future endeavours.

He also sought suggestions from them for the promotion and development of women entrepreneurship in J&K.

Speaking during an event held at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium, Jammu University to celebrate International Women’s Day, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha called for creating a Gender Neutral Ecosystem in J&K where the women can choose any profession, job or business.

Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor assured equal opportunities and widening of women’s sphere of activities so that their special talents and experiences could enrich Jammu & Kashmir’s economy and public service.

The soul of a country and society is poor without the invaluable contribution of women. Our collective effort is to provide advanced education, modern facilities, and support in every sector so as to enable women to make the best contribution towards the common good, observed the Lt Governor.

We aim to develop an environment, in work places from government departments to the corporate world, to engage more women in the fields where they are less in numbers, observed the Lt Governor.

There are many examples of women achievers who fought all odds and overcame all barriers. Today, women are breaking many stereotypes by doing some exceptional work in the field which once was considered being only for men, said the Lt Governor.

Speaking on the importance of gender neutrality, the Lt Governor made a special mention of Ms. Pooja Devi, the first female bus driver of J&K and expressed his happiness that women of the UT are breaking barriers.

After seeing the determination of Pooja Devi, we have decided to make an addition in the notification for recruitment of Government Bus Drivers (which is gender neutral) and add a line that women can also apply for this post, said the Lt Governor.

There is a mindset that for the recruitment of drivers, only men can apply. This thinking has to be changed, he added.

Women are no less than men. The Government is committed to providing equal opportunities to women. Men and women both have to work collectively to take J&K to new heights of development, the Lt Governor maintained.

The Lt Governor further called for more participation of Women in J&K’s workforce with the help of Mission Youth, Himayat and Skill Development Centres.

The Government is working on the lines of Jan Andolan for the social and economic upliftment of women. From entrepreneurship to education, we are giving financial assistance to the women so that they can become financially and socially independent and can contribute towards economic development of J&K, said the Lt Governor.

He said that women in J&K are being empowered through several government-run schemes as the changes are visible on ground and added that the efforts of different government departments and agencies to empower women are bearing fruits with noticeable changes.

Emphasizing on equal participation of women in every aspect of life, the Lt Governor stressed on making J&K women financially independent; increasing women participation in leadership roles, and putting more focus on security and health.

Underscoring various initiatives taken by the Government for economic empowerment of women, the Lt Governor said that during the Mumkin Programme, mini-commercial vehicles with zero margin money were made available to the beneficiaries and we have kept it gender neutral.

J&K has a long history of women empowerment. For decades, the women folks of J&K have made significant contributions to keep the culture and traditions alive, said the Lt Governor.

Appreciating the role of women in development of J&K, the Lt Governor cited various examples of women empowerment in J&K and mentioned Smt. Kanta Wazir, Kota Rani, Lal Ded, Habba Khatoon, Mata Roop Bhawani and Doctor Girija Dhar.

The Lt Governor also mentioned Padma Bhushan Neelam Kler, Dr. Shehnaz, Dr. Nazira, Dr. Aram Ali and President Awardee Mehwish Mustaq and lauded their contribution for the betterment of society.

The Lt Governor appreciated J&K Women’s Development Corporation for working dedicatedly for the welfare of women. He asked the nodal department to distribute informative publications about women achievers of J&K and showcase their life history through plays in school and colleges.

To fill the skill gap, the Lt Governor called upon the private stakeholders for imparting on-job training to women.

Noting this year’s theme of International Women’s Day – “Choose to Challenge”, the Lt Governor suggested that Women Development Corporation should develop a platform to connect academia with industry, NGOs and Private sector and start a “Champions for Innovation” program.

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