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Programmes for Women and their Impact:Rural women's Development and Employment Project

The Rural Women's Development and Empowerment Project (now also being called "SWA-SAKTI Project" has been sanctioned on 16 October 1998 as a Centrally-sponsored project for five years at an estimated outlay of Rs. 186.21 crore. In addition, an amount of Rs. Five crore is to be provided, over the project period but outside the project outlay, for facilitating setting up in the project States of revolving funds for giving interest-bearing loans to beneficiary groups primarily during their initial formative stage.

The objectives of the project are (i) Establishment of self-reliant women's self-help-groups (SHGs) between 7,400 and 12,000 having 15-20 members each, which will improve the quality of their lives, through greater access to and control over, resources; (ii) Sensitizing and strengthening the institutional capacity of support agencies to proactively address women's needs;

(ii) Developing linkages between SHGs and leading institutions to ensure women's continued access to credit facilities for income generation activities; (iv) Enhancing women's access to resources for better quality of life, including those for drudgery reduction and time-saving devices; and (v) Increased control of women, particularly poor women, over income and spending, through their involvement in income generating activities.

The implementing agencies will be the Women's Development Corporation of the concerned States of Bihar, Haryana, and Karnataka; Gujarat Women's Economic Development Corporation in Gujarat; M.P. Mahila Arthik Vikas Nigam in Madhya Pradesh and Mahila Kalyan Nigam in Uttar Pradesh, who will actively associate NGOs in the implementation tasks. The Government of India in the form of grant-in-aid will provide funds. At the Central level, the Department of Women and Child Development, assisted by the Central Project Support Unit (CPSU), handle the project. NIPCCD has been identified as the Lead Training Agency, while Agricultural Finance Corporation has been contracted as the Lead Monitoring and Evaluation Agency. Both of them work in close liaison with the CPSU, under the directions of the Department.