Shimla: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister Himachal today launched an ambitious Rs. 300 crore NABARD funded Operation Doodh Ganga Project, by lighting the ceremonial lamp to make Himachal Pradesh self sufficient in milk production and to mark commemoration of the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayaya at a remote village Paplota in Arki Sub Division of Solan district today.
The project is being implemented by the State Government in collaboration with the Animal Husbandry Department of Himachal Pradesh, targetting 10,000 woman Self Help Groups (SHGs). The project aims to transform them into micro-enterprises engaged in dairy farming and to empower 50,000 rural households economically.
Addressing a public meeting on the occasion, Chief Minister said that the Doodh Ganga project would be initially launched on pilot basis in the districts of Solan, Sirmour and Mandi and would be extended to rest of the State to achieve the objective within the fixed time frame. He said that all eligible SHGs would be provided interest free loan under the Project for dairy farming activities for a period of five years subject to a maximum of Rs. 3.00 lakh, through various nationalised banks all over the State. He said that 10 percent of the project cost would be borne by the members of SHGs out of their savings.
He said that Operation Doodh Ganga would be generating livelihood opportunities to the members of SHGs on a sustainable basis encouraging them for taking up income generating activities and setting up rural micro enterprises in dairy by imparting training for acquiring/upgrading relevant skills and entrepreneurial abilities and also infusing fresh capital through Venture Capital Fund.
Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh and NABARD were closely inter-related as both had jointly achieved the objective of constructing 13,672 new rooms to provide every government primary school with three-room accommodation under Sarswati Bal Vidya Sankalp Yojna at a cost of Rs. 126 crore during the earlier term of the government in the State. He said that the State had successfully achieved the target of constructing 13,672 rooms within a period of three years.
He said that NABARD had been funding various road construction projects to strengthen the communication network in the State. He thanked the NABARD authorities for their cooperative and helping attitude towards the developmental requirements of hilly State. He said that Himachal Pradesh was primarily a agrarian State and 92 percent of its population was rural based. He said that there was necessity to strengthen the basic amenities and infrastructural facilities in rural areas so that migration to urban areas was checked. He said that the State Government was committedly moving ahead to achieve the objective of road, education, health in every village thereby generating self-employment avenues for rural youth to make them self reliant to ultimately live with self respect and dignity.
Prof. Dhumal said that the State had already launched Rs. 353 crore Pandit Den Dayal Kisaan-Baagwan Samridhi Yojna to motivate farmers to go for modern farming in controlled climatic conditions. He appealed the farmers to avail upto 80 percent subsidy over the total cost of the poly houses and micro-irrigation schemes. He said that women empowerment was on the top agenda of the State Government and was committedly implementing various schemes aimed at their socio-economic upliftment.
He said that the State Government had also announced awards to the people informing the local authorities of any female foeticide which had emerged a big challenge before the State Government. The State Government had already decided to provide 50 percent reservation to women in all the panchayati raj institutions with a view to provide them population proportional representation for the policy formulation at the grass root level institutions of democracy. He said that besides implementing various programmes effectively mass awareness was being created amongst the awakened society, especially amongst the women and NGOs could be instrumental in bringing the sex ratio in the State at par, he added. He said that the gram panchayat with highest female birth rate was being awarded an additional development grant of Rs. 5 lakh as an incentive.
Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh was known for its quality milk production which required to be revived. He said that the State Government had already enhanced the procurement price of milk by Rs. 4 per litre during past 20 months to motivate farmers for taking up animal husbandry activities. He appealed to the rural masses to adopt dairy farming as their self employment venture, and earn livelihood for themselves and their families, at their door steps and also meet the milk demand available in State itself and make white revolution endeavours a dream come true in the State. He assured the people of providing them at home veterinary services promptly. He said that nodal officers had also been appointed in every district of the State. He announced girls high school at Kunihar by taking over the running private school in observance of all codal formalities.