Making the Mission Shakti Movement Meatier: Providing Organization and Scale through the Over-arching State-level Federation

Bhubaneswar: “No family, society or country can develop and grow without the empowerment of its women”: It is this unwavering belief of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that has been the sole guiding principle and goading forcebehind Odisha’s Mission Shakti revolution. Today, women in Odisha have got a new identity with the help of Mission Shakti. They have got a reason to smile, a reason to celebrate their success. From a very small and humble beginning two decades ago to a giant collaboration of more than eight million women – Mission Shakti has been a story of remarkable and fulfilling achievement. As the institution of Mission Shakti grows, so do the responsibilities alongside. In the last twenty years, the small groups of independent women who came together for a common cause of social and economic empowerment have the greatest responsibility to transform the state in all aspects.

Speaking recently on the occasion of the training program of the newly elected Panchayati Raj Institution members, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Mission Shakti, Sujata R Karthikeyan has said: “Mission Shakti is not a scheme, it has no targets, it has no hard guidelines, it has no deadlines; but Mission Shakti is a campaign, a revolution; it’s a faith of lakhs of women from across the state.” She also said that the State Level Federation of Mission Shakti will be set up in the next 12 months which will lead the empowerment of women in Odisha. Looking at the massive expansion in the last few years, the Mission Shakti program in Odisha today needs an umbrella organization under which it can grow itself deep in the society. The decision to set up a State Level Federation that will include more than eight million women SHG members is a step in the right direction. It will give a clear direction to the aims and objectives of Mission Shakti.

Today, from the grassroots level with cluster level association of SHGs to the Gram Panchayat Level Federations and then to Block and District Level Federations, the Mission Shakti institution has been in a robust structural shape. Bringing all together under the aegis of the state-level federation will help in devising the core strategies of the Department of Mission Shakti and bringing in uniformity in policies and strategies. It will also help in formulating future strategies that will guide the Mission Shakti movement.

With the economic aspects associated with the works of Mission Shakti also growing manifolds, there is a need to oversee the whole operations under one umbrella organization. The State Level Federation will help in this. The government of Odisha has been providing all types of financial help to the SHGs for their activities. In the year 2014-15, the SHGs of the state were given bank loans of just over Rs 500 crore, which grew to Rs 6836 crore in 2021-22. It will be more than Rs 9000 crore by next year. The government also plans to give financial assistance of Rs 50,000 crore in the next five years. With the instructions of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the government departments in Odisha have to procure goods and services worth Rs 5000 crore from the Women Self-Help Groups. These massive financial aspects need disciplined management which can be possible only through a centralized umbrella organization.

The State Level Federation will be the nodal organization in streamlining the growing dealings of the Self-Help Groups in the coming days. It will also pave the way for transforming the Self-Help Groups into Small Manufacturing Enterprises. The aim is to create women-led SMEs in every nook and corner of the state which will be facilitated by the State Level Mission Shakti Federation.

In convergence with the 5T Initiatives, the Mission Shakti Department aims to bring in the best from the SHGs through the State Level Federation. The 5T Initiatives will help in further growing the revolution called Mission Shakti and bring in the social, economic and political empowerment for the women of Odisha.

In short, the success of the Naveen-led movement now warrants Mission Shakti to propel itself to decisive momentum. The future roadmap for women empowerment in the state now requires Mission Shakti to up-structure and upscale.The creation of the Federation will be a sure-fire game-changer in this direction. Likely,it will also be an emulable example for the nation.

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