The government has provided micro-finance to at least 600,000 women across the country to empower them economically, said Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury Friday. "Under our Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, we have given micro-finance to 600,000 women in the last few years. A total of Rs.233 crores (Rs.2.33 billion) have been given to these women to set up their own business and earn a handsome livelihood," Chowdhury told reporters.
"We want our women to face less discrimination, less domestic violence and more economic stability. Micro finance is a small but effective way to improve the economic condition of our women.
"If you will go to the India International Trade Fair (IITF), you will find so many women setting up shops. This is the first time that we have given women self help groups to showcase their product in the fair," she said about the pavilion devoted to these self help groups.
With support from the ministry at least 60 self-help groups have set up their stall in the fair and are selling products ranging from bangles to pickles, shawl to glassworks, fruits, clothes and paintings. These participants are from 22 states of the country.
"It's a big stride forward for these women entrepreneurs and this exposure will help them understand better about market demand, pricing, packaging and dealing with customers," the minister said, adding that her ministry will give self-help groups space in the IITF every year.