AP SHGs model for country: Sonia

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Ongole, AP, July 17 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi today lauded the Andhra Pradesh model of dairy development with the involvement of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) and revealed that it had been adopted in the Gandhi strongholds of Rae Bareli and Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

''You are the role models for women empowerment through dairying in my constituency Rae Bareli and also in Amethi represented by my son,'' she said, amid applause at an impressive public meeting here this evening.

The state, which accounted for one-third of the SHGs in the country, took the lead in eradicating poverty through collective action under the ''Indira Kranthi Patham'', a scheme named after her mother-in-law and aimed at realising her dreams, she noted.

Ms Gandhi urged the women to face the twin challenges of uplifting their families and also the community. She assured all assistance from the UPA Government at the Centre and the Congress Government in the state to further strengthen the SHG movement.

Highlighting the UPA Government's initiatives for women's development, she said one crore people, including 55 lakh women, were benefitted by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme launched in Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh in February 2006.

The Manmohan Singh government had enacted a landmark legislation to protect women against domestic violence and also enhanced the honorarium for Anganwadi workers and helpers, she said.

Terming ''historic'' the farmer loan waiver scheme, the UPA chairperson said when lakhs of farmers were benefitted, the women in their families, who shared the distress due to debt burden, were also relieved. ''It(the scheme) is benefitting our sisters and mothers also.'' More UNI SM VA RR GC1924

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