JAMMU, NOV 17: The Jammu & Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (Umeed) and Meesho, India’s fastest-growing internet commerce company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the growth of 1,800 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) by providing them an online platform to launch and grow their business and empower the rural women entrepreneurs. The MoU was signed and exchanged in the presence of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, here at Raj Bhavan.
Congratulating women entrepreneurs of Self-Help Groups and Meesho officials on the occasion, the Lt Governor said that the partnership will help in building lives and livelihood for rural communities and provide greater access to economic activities, financial independence to rural women entrepreneurs.
The partnership of Rural Livelihoods Mission and E-commerce giant Meesho is a significant step in making niche products of Jammu and Kashmir available to the wider customer base, providing SHGs global market to grow their business, and making them Aatma-Nirbhar, he observed.
From shawls and carpets to phool kari, Jammu & Kashmir’s arts and crafts have earned global recognition for their uniqueness. Going online with Meesho will allow these women to sell such products to all corners of India and benefit from higher visibility and additional income. Digital inclusion will help them become self-employed entrepreneurs and fulfill their aspirations of achieving financial independence. JKRLM Umeed and Meesho have already identified products created by these SHGs that can be sold on the online platform, such as Chabhari and Bina grass items, papier-mâché, essential oils, woolens and crewel embroidered products, made across J&K.
JKRLM Umeed on its part will provide all necessary support to boost the digitization of these women entrepreneurs through access to the internet and financial services, it was informed.
The Lt Governor said the partnership will also provide an opportunity to both JKRLM & Meesho to scale up rural enterprises from grass root to large scale and bring the change in rural women’s lives.
The Lt Governor also highlighted the efforts of the government for promoting women entrepreneurship by building strong grassroots institutions that can foster enduring transformation.
For the last two years, we have been working towards re-imagining the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir and providing a strong market linkage and e-commerce platforms to exploit the potential of artisans. About 5.5 lakh women are associated with more than 64,000 SHGs and almost every panchayat has two women entrepreneurs today, added the Lt Governor.
Greater access to economic activities for women entrepreneurs has made these Self Help Groups the backbone of the rural economy. Today’s MoU will ensure the selected members of our Self Help Groups are empowered and their true potential is fully realized, the Lt Governor said.
J&K has abundant talent in Handicraft, and through this cooperation, we will be able to empower a large number of women which in turn will empower the community as well as this Union Territory, he added.
Sh Sanjeev Barnwal, co-Founder and CTO, Meesho, said, “We are privileged to work with Umeed-JKRLM and the J&K Government to further our mission of democratizing e-commerce. Women entrepreneurs are a key growth engine of India’s economy and Meesho has empowered lakhs of them to succeed in the online world. Through this partnership, we hope to amplify our efforts in that direction and enable these Self-Help groups from J&K realize their full potential. We will provide them with all the tools and guidance they need to grow their business online with Meesho.”
Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary asked the JKRLM to devise a comprehensive system for product certification to create a brand value. E-Commerce is the way forward and more focus should be given on showcasing our products in virtual showrooms, he added.
Ms. Mandeep Kaur, Administrative Secretary, Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj briefed about the initiatives taken to link local products with e-markets.
Ms. Indu Kanwal Chib, Mission Director, JKRLM briefed on the key aspects of the MoU. She further said the partnership with Meesho will not only give the SHG women good prices for their products, but also a new identity to their entrepreneurship development. Through this association, women artisans will get access to a potentially wider market base while locally produced, unique products from J&K will become available to millions of Meesho customers across the country, strengthening rural businesses, she added.
A short film on livelihood generation initiatives of JKRLM was also showcased on the occasion.
Ms Mridhu Slathia, Additional Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission, Jammu; Ms Prachi Bhuchar, Head-Public Policy and Government Affairs Meesho and senior officials were present during the MoU signing ceremony.