India lives in its villages, rural development remains priority: Shivraj Chouhan

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (PTI) India lives in its villages and rural development remains a priority for the Narendra Modi led government, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Tuesday as he took charge of the Rural Development ministry.  The 'Lakhpati Didi' scheme aimed at enabling women to earn Rs 1 lakh per annum is among the key focuses of the government, Chouhan, who has been chief minister of Madhya Pradesh for four terms, said.

"The prime minister has another dream we want to fulfil, that is the dream to have 'Lakhpati Didis'... women empowerment is a mission of our government," the veteran BJP leader said.

"Many programmes are being implemented and work is being done through self help groups. There are one crore 'Lakhpati Didis'... we have to take this number to three crore," he said.

Referring to the Union cabinet's decision to construct three crore more houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, he told reporters, "India lives in its villages. Rural development is a priority of our prime minister. Many programmes are being run for that. Schemes like PMGSY have changed the face of India..." Minister of State for Rural Development Kamlesh Paswan was also present on the occasion.

Discussing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Chouhan said, "It is a huge employment generator, and now there is an emphasis on creating assets."  The Lakhpati Didi programme, implemented by the Rural Development Ministry, aims at catalysing economic empowerment and financial independence among women in rural areas.

It is implemented through self-help groups, which enable women members to earn an annual household income of Rs 1 lakh or more. This income is calculated for at least four agricultural seasons or business cycles with an average monthly income exceeding Rs 10,000 so that it is sustainable. PTI AO AO MIN MIN