Empowerment of women is one of the key development initiatives identified by the Government of Odisha. It is well-known that economic empowerment of women significantly contributes to their social empowerment. As such helping women to achieve economic independence by enabling them to have independent employment and income has been accorded the highest priority. Therefore, promotion of Women’s Self-Help Groups (WSHGs) under the aegis of ‘Mission Shakti’ programme was adopted in 2001 as a key strategy for achieving women’s empowerment.
“Mission Shakti” is the self-help mission for empowering women through promotion of Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) to take up various socio-economic activities which was launched in the state on 8th March 2001 on the eve of International Women’s Day. Mission Shakti has the clear objective of empowering women through gainful activities by providing credit and market linkage. Empowerment of women through WSHGs under Mission Shakti is a flagship programme of the Government. It envisages that over a period of time more & more women would be part of a WSHG.
Nearly 70 lakh women have been organized into 6 lakh groups in all blocks and urban local bodies of the State so far. To strengthen the activities of the existing WSHGs and to provide momentum to formation of new WSHGs, constant handholding and monitoring is undertaken throughout the year. For this purpose, a separate Directorate of Mission Shakti has been created under the Department of Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti in April 2017. To further the SHG movement in the state and consolidate & deepen the efforts around SHG movement, a separate Department of Mission Shakti came into existence on 1st June 2021.