Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced interest-free loans of up to Rs 3 lakh for women self-help groups (WSHGs) in the state.
There are around six lakh WSHGs in Odisha.
"I am glad to let you know that you (WSHGs) will be getting loans at zero per cent interest," the chief minister said while addressing a 'Mission Shakti' convention, which was attended by around 50,000 women.
He said the initiative will benefit about 70 lakh women.
The announcement came hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Baripada in Mayurbhanj district to launch central government projects worth more than Rs 4,500 crore.
Mr Patnaik decided to skip the PM's programme, sources in the chief minister's office said.
The chief minister also distributed financial assistance of Rs 3,000 each to six lakh WSHGs as part of the state government's efforts to digitally empower women.
During the convention, Mr Patnaik launched a scheme to distribute Rs 15,000 seed money per group to three lakh new self-help groups. He also handed over revolving fund of Rs 25 lakh to 338 block federations.
The chief minister announced incentives of Rs 500 per month for anganwadi workers and Rs 200 for helpers.
The 'Mission Shakti' programme was launched in 2001 and it has taken the form of a "silent movement" in the state during the last 18 years, he said.
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