Banswara (Rajasthan): UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday unveiled the National Rural Livelihood Mission to reach out to BPL families through self-help groups and said the network of such groups comprising women will be strengthened.
   
Terming the NRLM as an ambitious programme of the UPA government, she said its effective implementation all over the country is important and women self-help groups can be strengthened through the programme.
   
Unveiling the scheme in this predominantly tribal district, she said, "The country is rapidly progressing with a strong network of Panchayati Raj institutions due to strong efforts of Rajiv Gandhi. These institutions have almost 10 lakh elected women representatives and the number of SHGs is also increasing with around 50 lakh self-help groups making efforts to improve the condition of women in various states.
   
"These groups are boosting the confidence of women in rural areas and successfully running group activities like monitoring of primary health centres, social audit of various government-run schemes and programmes, distribution of old age pension, procurement of wheat and rice," she said.
   
"To make them more effective, a new economic institution is going to be formed by the government and for that, the Finance Ministry has already fixed Rs 500 crore," she told a large gathering of tribals, mostly women, who braved blistering heat to be present at the function.
   
This tribal region of southern Rajasthan also took a leap forward with Gandhi laying the foundation of Dungarpur-Banswara-Ratlam rail line near Dungarpur Railway Station.
   
The line will connect the tribal region of Banswara district with a rail line.The Rs 2100 crore project is scheduled to be completed within seven years.

(Agencies)