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Rally podium to usher in harmony

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday addressed a huge rally at Rang Maidan on the second leg of the JD(U)’s Sankalp Rally.

The party at a meeting in Pawapuri had decided to organise Sankalp rallies in 12 places of the state. The party had organised its first Sankalp Rally in East Champaran on December 7. Through this rally, the party wants to instil confidence among people and bring harmony among them.

Nitish said: “There are several neglected communities, including Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the women of the society. We have included them in the mainstream of development and they have contributed a lot. We have not only bridged gaps between two areas but also grown the faith among various communities of the society so far.”

He added: “Purnea’s people had demanded a medical college. For that, land has been earmarked. The younger generation has been consistently demanding a university here. For the growth of the education system, a university will also be set up here. We want to see every corner of the state developed. For that Bihar must be given the special status.”

Nitish also attended a function organised at Kala Bhavan by Jeevika, a non-government organisation. Four banks gave away loans to self-help groups (SHGs). There are 2,475 beneficiaries under micro-financing schemes in which each SHG was given Rs 50,000, while all four banks — the State Bank of India, Central Bank of India, United Bank of India and Uttar Bihar Gramin Bank — distributed around Rs 12.37 crore among the SHGs on Sunday.

The four banks also organised a mega credit camp on the Kala Bhavan premises in which they disbursed loans of various kinds among 6,666 beneficiaries. They granted loan of around Rs 99.28 crore among the beneficiaries.

Addressing the beneficiaries of the SHGs, Nitish said: “The women are uniting at the grassroots level. They are now self-reliant, economically self-dependent and are also enhancing the income of their families. There were around two lakh SHG beneficiaries, including SHGs formed under Jeevika and other agencies. We have set a target of forming around 10 lakh SHGs till 2017. The central government provides loans to the SHG beneficiaries at the rate of seven per cent interest through banks. But we would be giving them three per cent subsidy. As a result, SHGs could get loans at four per cent interest. Uniting through SHG schemes is nothing but a silent revolution because the women are uniting at the lower level.”

In Purnea, the Jeevika started forming self-help groups in three blocks in 2007. It has now included all the 14 blocks. It has included about 13,000 SHGs, which are increasing their incomes rapidly.