New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) Asserting that rural employment was key to eliminating poverty from the country, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has said efforts are on to establish centres for proper packaging, branding and marketing of the products made by the artisans.
Inaugurating the fortnight long rural handicraft fair SARAS-2007 here last evening, the minister said that under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), a pilot scheme of his Ministry to provide employment in rural areas, the BPL families and the women folk were being encouraged to from Self Help Groups.
During the 11th five year plan, it will be ensured that that at least one member of every rural family is associated with a Self Help Group engaged in providing respectful earning to the rural masses across the country. Necessary training and financial help is also being provided to them.
Till now handicraft, food items and handloom products manufactured in the rural areas lagged behind for want of proper publicity and marketing avenues, Dr Singh pointed out and said SARAS melas could play a crucial role in reducing this. Lauding the role of SARAS like avenues, the minister said that from seven SARAS fairs in 2003-04 benefiting 3174 SHGs in the country, the number has reached 24,408 in the year 2006-07.
The sales turnover of Rs 12,59,56,538 crore in 2003-04 has also taken a quantum leap to Rs 21,45,40,472 crore during the last financial year. The sale of rural products during the current financial year (2007-08) is so far to the tune of Rs 83,98,746 lakh.Till now a total of 66 SARAS fairs have generated a sales turnover of Rs 76,19,49,623 crores, he added.