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From brewing ‘handia’ to earning life of dignity: Jharkhand govt's scheme seeks to empower women

Jharkhand government's ‘Phulo-Jhano Aashirvaad Abhiyaan’ in tribal areas exhorts women to take to alternative sources of livelihood.

Published: 06th December 2020 09:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th December 2020 07:30 PM   |  A+A-

These tribal women earn around Rs 1,000 every day from roadside eateries. (Photo | EPS)

These tribal women earn around Rs 1,000 every day from roadside eateries. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

JHARKHAND: The life of 26-year-old Shweta Hansda, who brewed and sold ‘handia’ (rice beer) at home for a living, has now completely changed.

The woman from Fatehpur village under Dumri block of Giridih has quit the profession, which she took over from her mother-in-law.

The Jharkhand government’s ‘Phulo-Jhano Aashirvaad Abhiyaan’, under which Hansda was provided a loan of Rs 50,000 from a local Self Help Group, has encouraged many like her to start their lives afresh and lead a more dignified life.

The government has started rehabilitating such tribal women by providing them livelihood opportunities. Out of the 16, 549 women identified across the state, 7,117 have already quit the profession and are engaged in various o the r l ive l iho o d activities. Shweta Hansda, who started a general store on July 31, makes a profit of at least Rs 7,000 every month, enabling her to send her only son to a private convent school. “My husband, who works as a daily wager, has stopped fighting with me. Most importantly, the entire atmosphere at my house has changed: the customers don’t fight with each other over ‘handia’ share after getting drunk,” said Hansda. Ditto for Sushila Devi of Konki village under Kanke block Ranchi.

“I am happy to have gotten out of the liquor brewing business with the help of SHG women. Villagers respect me,” says Sushila. She is grateful to the Jharkhand State Livelihood Society for giving her a life of dignity. Sutali Devi of Telmunga village under Kasmar block of Bokaro has started running a PDS shop in her village after she was provided a loan by a village SHG.

“I changed my profession for the sake of my children’s future. Brewing liquor didn’t ensure a regular income, but this shop has provided me a regular source of income for my family,” says Sutali. Kalawanti Kumari and Laxmi Devi of Santaldih village under Chas block in Bokaro along with Biti Soren of Badasapadaha village in Pakur have started a roadside eatery and earn around Rs 1,000 every day. “Only two months back, we opened this eatery, and the income is far more than what we got by brewing liquor at our homes,” said Laxmi Devi. Above all, they have come out of the daily brawls over the share of the ‘handi’ brew.

“We often had to go to local moneylenders. Not anymore, our income is enough to meet the requirements of our families,” said Biti Soren. “The scheme aims to help these women live a dignified life besides making them socially and economically independent,” says Rural Development Secretary Aradhana Patnaik. Identifying these women as beneficiaries for the scheme was not difficult, says Patnaik. “We are convinced that once these women earn through alternative sources, they will quit the ‘handia’ business,” says the Rural Development Secretary. Being an integral part of tribal culture, rice beer is brewed in most of the households in tribal-dominated districts and almost every individual in the community is in the habit of consuming handiya, including children.

Providing livelihood opportunities

The ‘Phulo-Jhano Aashirvaad Abhiyaan’, under which women are provided a loan of Rs 10,000, has encouraged many to start their lives afresh and lead a more dignified life. The government has started rehabilitating such tribal women by providing them livelihood opportunities. Out of the 16, 549 women identified across the state, 7,117 have quit the profession and are engaged in other livelihood activities



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