Self-employment schemes help B’pora Women become self-reliant, support economy of households

The welfare schemes of the government meant to provide self-employment to the unemployed youth of Kashmir to make them self-reliant are turning boon in this part of North Kashmir, where women are voluntarily visiting various government departments to avail benefits under schemes of their choice to become self-employed besides generating employment for others.

With the assistance of these welfare schemes, women of Bandipora are contributing to the economy of their households to a large extent by becoming self-sufficient. They have also become a source of inspiration for others.

The Sheep rearing is one such sector that makes a valuable contribution to the weaker sections of the society in Bandipora by its multifaceted utility of producing wool, meat, skin, manure etc. Realizing this, many developmental activities including schemes for intensive sheep development in the UT have been initiated and the women here are grabbing the opportunity with open arms.

One of such example is of Mumtaza Begum, a shy introvert 33 year old college dropout and now a house maker from Sheikpal Watrina area of ​​district Bandipora, who in early 2020 approached Sheep Husbandry Department Bandipora for a Sheep Unit in order to earn livelihood.

Extending a helping hand, the department provided a 50 ewe sheep unit to Mumtaza under state sector Scheme-Mini Sheep Farm in the year 2020. She grabbed the opportunity with both of her hands with the motive to transform her life and the fate of her husband Besides providing employment to two more men who work at her sheep farm.

“There are two men working in my farm on a monthly salary of 9000 each,” said Mumtaza. It was not however easy to break the set stereotype and centuries old male dominance to carve a sustainable livelihood for herself and her family, she added.

Starting with 50 sheeps, Mumtaza now possesses more than 250 sheeps that have proven self-sufficient for her to earn livelihood for herself and the family besides providing livelihood to two other families.

“The department (Sheep Husbandry Department) has provided me with every support whenever needed”, she said. She is supported by her husband and is happy to have successfully taken up this opportunity. She appealed to other women to reap full benefits of schemes kept available by the UT government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Bandipora with its peculiar scenic beauty is located in the foothills of the snow-clad peaks of Harmukh overlooking the shores of Wullar Lake has a tremendous potential for the growth of sheep and allied agricultural activities. This district occupies an area of ​​398sqkm. Large scale efforts are seen growing day in and day out to further boost this sector.

Realizing the importance of being self-sufficient, another 28-yr-old lady Masrat Jan from Lawaypora area of ​​Bandipora has been provided 100 Ewe Sheep units under Integrated Sheep Development Scheme.

Giving details she said she is happy to be an employer rather than ending up as an employee. “I am giving employment to three unemployed youth besides supporting my family economically”, she added.

Masarat expressed her happiness and thanked the UT Government, District Administration and Sheep Husbandry department for providing her timely assistance in establishing the unit.

She also appealed to the unemployed youth to come forward and take benefit of different schemes provided by the Government. She said to lower the unemployment rate youth has to change the mindset and engage themselves in different income generating units.

Giving details, the District Sheep Husbandry Officer (DSHO) Bandipora, Dr Showkat Ahmad said that the department launched an innovative Sheep Development Scheme known as Integrated Sheep Development Scheme in the year 2020-21 to promote and set up Sheep and Goat Units in the JK UT. He said that the main aim of the scheme is to fulfil the huge of mutton and refuse demand the imports of Sheep and Goats in the state and this will also boost the income opportunities and income of the farmer.

Under ISDS, 25 Ewe Unit & Multiples of 25 Ewes with maximum livestock strength of 200 Ewes unit are provided on 50 percent Subsidy Basis ie 50 percent of the total unit cost is contributed by beneficiary and rest 50 percent is Subsidy Component, Dr Showkat said. He added that the scheme is for Individuals/ SHGs /Cooperatives/FPOs who are willing to Establish Sheep Units. Further, he said that 25 Ewe units under the same scheme on participatory pattern are provided to unemployed youth free of cost.

The DSHO said that the department provides shearing plants with Genset and other accessories under ISDS on a 50 percent Subsidy basis to unemployed youth who want to take up Machine Sheep Shearing as a source of livelihood.

He further said that during the current fiscal year 2021-22 SHD Bandipora established 59 Sheep Units of various strengths under ISDS scheme thereby achieving 100 percent targets. In addition 07 no. of Shearing plants were handed over to unemployed youth on a 50 percent Subsidy basis. Also under the same, farmers whose livestock perished due to natural calamity or wild attacks were compensated.

Under CSS- SCA To TSS, SHD Bandipora is providing training in Basic Veterinary Health Care Services to Tribal Youth of Cluster Model Village, he said, adding that the trained youth shall be provided advanced Veterinary tool kit to earn their livelihood.

Under CSS-NLM, SHD provided 38 numbers of power driven Chaff Cutters to progressive Sheep Farmers on a 50 percent Subsidy basis, Dr Showkat said.

Further, the DSHO said that under UT Capex 146 community graziers/ Chopans were provided a cash incentive through DBT Mode for their contributions towards the sheep sector

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