SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh's famous handmade shawls, sweaters, carpets, organic honey, fruits and spices will soon be available on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Government e-Marketplace (GeM).
Himachal Pradesh's Rural Development Minister Virender Kanwar said the state government is planning to facilitate 2.80 lakh women belonging to 27,000 self-help groups (SHGs) access to the e-commerce platforms so that they can sell their products in a wider market.
Among the products which may be available on the e-commerce platforms include handmade shawls, sweaters, carpets, organic honey, fruits, dry fruits, spices, pickles, medicinal herbs.
The e-commerce platforms will enable small artisans living in remote or snowbound areas of the hill state to showcase their organic, natural and handmade products and connect them with buyers from across the country, Kanwar said in a statement.
The uploading of the SHG products on e-commerce platforms is under progress and will be available under 'Him Ira' brand.
This is a major step towards women empowerment and will give a big boost to the women entrepreneurs, he said.
The necessary standardisation procedure and quality tests along with paper works are being completed expeditiously to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to the women from SHGs.
The minister said this would also integrate SHGs with the government's public finance management system (PFMS), thus helping them get their payments without difficulties.
The state government will help the SHGs in branding, packaging and pricing their products to make them market competitive.
This will open doors of growth and ensure the rural women folks get maximum profit, Kanwar said.
At present, the products made by women SHGs are available only at government and a few other outlets.
Following an initiative of Kanwar, the state tourism department has agreed to display these products at all the tourist hotels in Himachal Pradesh so that the SHGs products are easily available to the tourists.
In Himachal Pradesh, about 15,000 SHGs are involved in agricultural activities while 12,000 SHGs in non-farm activities under the ambit of the National Rural Livelihood Mission .
Some SHGs sell products at 'Him Ira' shops and weekly markets under the 'Him Ira' brand.
At present 40 'Him Ira' shops are in operation in various parts of Himachal Pradesh and the state government is planning to set up around 100 'Him Ira' shops in all districts of the state so that small farmers and SHGs reach markets without interference of a middle man or vendor.
A woman member of a SHG earns around Rs 200-300 daily and the state government is providing Rs 50,000 to every SHG to start livelihood activities, the minister said.
Any SHG can avail Community Investment Fund (CIF) for such activities at nominal rate of interest and they are also being credit linked with the banks to avail loans.
The central government has also provided them interest subvention on loans up to Rs 3 lakh.
The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to provide additional interest subvention to SHGs, who are interested to take loan up to Rs 5 lakh, Kanwar said.
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