One-stop-shop for SHG products and services inaugurated in Guwahati
GUWAHATI: Self help groups (SHGs) functioning in Guwahati now have a permanent address - a one stop shop where they can sell their products and services – in the form of City Livelihood Centre (CLC).
The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has established the City Livelihoods Centre at the GMC office premise in Lakhtokia under Deen Dayal Antodoya- National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM). The centre was inaugurated on November 28 by Guwahati Development Department (GDD) Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya in the presence of GMC Commissioner Monalisa Goswami, Additional Commissioner of GMC Deba Kumar Mishra and Chief Engineer Tasdiqur Rahman.
Additionally, CMMU (NULM) staff, GMC staff and 150 SHG members were also present.
Speaking on the occasion, the GDD minister said, “Most of the times the SHG members face difficulty in finding a market. The centre will help them find potential buyers.”
Currently, there are a total of 1,400 self help groups functioning in Kamrup (Metro) and altogether 8,074 self help groups are functioning in the state of Assam. The CLC set up in Lakhtokia is the first step towards organizing the business of these SHGs. In the near future, NULM plans to open more such centers across the state, officials informed G Plus.
“The City Livelihoods Centre is a one-stop shop where people can come, see the products, purchase or even place bulk orders,” informed Sarmistha Deka, additional state project manager of Assam State Urban Livelihood Mission (ASULM).
They can also access information and business support services when needed. For example, the centre will help them avail loans from various banks, she added.
The centre, covering 1,200 square feet area, has been set up at a cost of Rs 5.46 lakhs. It aims at providing a platform to the urban poor whereby women Self Help Group members can offer their goods and services in an organized manner to the potential buyers and various public utility services can be extended by skilled human resource.
The CLC will act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those seeking services from the informal sector as well as for the urban poor promoting their services and product. The CLC will also be positioned as resource centre for those seeking information related to employment and skills training opportunities etc.
The CLC will run under direct supervision of City Mission Management Unit (CMMU), GMC for two years, after which its operation will be handed over to Area Level Federations formed by the Self Help Groups under DAY-NULM.
SHG members elated with the opening of the CLC
The inauguration of City Livelihood Centre at GMC office, Lakhtokia was attended by a large number of women who are part of various self help groups functioning in the city. From welcoming chief guest Siddhartha Bhattacharya with great fervor to serving food to the guests, the SHG members seemed visibly elated at the opening of the centre.
“I have been making candles and other decorative items for over three years now but it has always been very difficult to find buyers. Seeing my products on display here gives me a ray of hope and I’m hopeful that our products will now reach the masses and we’ll get more orders,” expressed an elated Jayanti Kathar, a resident of Hatigarh Chariali in Guwahati.
In the same vein, another SHG member Mini Kumari told G Plus, “We have always found difficulty in finding a place for our products in the market. The established shops give a tough competition and various middlemen try to manipulate us for their own gain. The best thing about this City Livelihood Centre is that there’s no involvement of middlemen.”
With the setting up of the CLC, middle and higher income groups can now easily access various services from urban poor which, in turn, will generate or augment livelihoods for the urban poor.
The NULM plans to provide free vocational training to the urban youth in the second phase of the project, informed Sarmistha Deka while speaking to G Plus.
The beneficiaries who are trained in various sectors viz. beautician, nursing, electrician, computer etc. under employment through skill training component of DAY-NULM will be enrolled under the CLC and will be provided with market for employment. Skilled or semi-skilled persons of various trades will be identified and registered ward-wise, whose service can be availed by the city people with just a phone call to CLC. Thus, in one way, livelihood can be ensured to urban poor section and in other way, good quality service can be ensured at justified price through a very easy process.
Further, plans are in place to develop various livelihood opportunities for urban poor by disseminating information related to employment, services and government schemes. Hand holding support will also be provided to the self help groups and the urban poor wherever required.
- SHG products
- City Livelihood Centre
- Deen Dayal Antodoya- National Urban Livelihoods Mission