VLEs change agents of digitally empowered rural women


‘VLEs to be doubled from 47 thousand to one lakh across India’

NEW DELHI: On the occasion of International Women’s Day Minister for Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, GoI, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Textiles, Smriti Irani inaugurated a workshop on “Stree Swabhiman – A CSC Initiative for Promoting Women’s Health and Hygiene”. The workshop showcased the impact and progress made by the Women Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) in promoting women’s health and hygiene among the poor and marginalised communities in India, through the Common Services Centres (CSCs).
Prasad appreciated the efforts of women VLEs, who have set up sanitary napkin units under Stree Swabhiman project, in advancing women’s health and hygiene in rural areas, apart from enhancing women’s empowerment.
Recounting the strength of women VLEs in mobilising citizens under government campaigns like: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Digi Dhan Abhiyan, the minister said: “Today, we have 47,000 women VLEs across India. I want to see their numbers grow up to more than one lakh in our country.”
The minister said, “Ensuring women’s presence at the fore front of “Digital India” would result in a new social order where women would play the role of “Change Agents” in building a society free of any discrimination. Digitally empowered women can bring a paradigm shift in encouraging and empowering rural communities,” he said while addressing around 700 VLEs from across India, many of whom have set up sanitary napkin units. The workshop also brought together senior officials from the Ministry of Electronics & IT. Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Textiles, Smriti Irani congratulated the women VLEs on the International Women’s Day and said, “I believe every day is a woman’s day. Women empowerment, especially for those living in rural India, is an integral component of our government. The government has framed the guidelines for menstrual hygiene in the country.”
Mentioning VLE Snehlata Devi’s initiative “Chuppi Todo, Sayani Bano” among the Banjara community, Smriti Irani said, “Women VLEs are the first respondents of governance.” She added, “In the last three years, more than 16 crore women opened bank accounts through Jan Dhan Yojana. Similarly, due to MUDRA Yojana started by our government, 7.80 crore women became entrepreneur in our country.”
Exhibiting solidarity with “women agents of change”, she promised to visit CSC run by a woman VLE near Bangalre on the 11th of this month. She said, “I would be privileged to have a cup of tea at your enterprise.”
On the occasion Secretary, MEITY, Ajay Prakash Sawhney said that “women VLEs are playing a significant role in Digital Empowerment in India”. Highlighting the role of women VLEs Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC SPV said that VLEs were providing government services at the doorsteps of the citizens. “Through CSC platform, our VLEs have created rural enterprises in the country and contributed to empowerment of women in rural India,” he said.
On the occasion, a special publication highlighting initiatives undertaken by CSC Women VLEs in Stree Swabhimaan was also launched by Ravi Shankar Prasad. 10 Women VLEs were awarded by the minister on the basis of their performance in project Stree Swabhiman.

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