JHARSUGUDA, AUG 31, 2021
The Jharsuguda Unit of Vedanta Ltd. has bagged runner-up position at the prestigious BRICS India Solutions for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Awards 2021. The company won the coveted award in SDG 5: Gender Equality category for its flagship community development project in women empowerment – Subhalaxmi Co-operative, a 4100-plus members strong all-women co-operative society operating in Jharsuguda.
This is a global and international achievement among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to recognize businesses for driving grassroots realization of UN SDGs.
Vedanta conceived the project in 2008, during the inception phase of its Aluminium Smelter at Jharsuguda, in response to the high demand for livelihood opportunities in nearby villages. Started with only 10 women and their initial contribution of Rs 1000, Subhalaxmi Co-operative has grown in strength over a decade to become one of India’s largest rural women’s cooperatives with presence in 72 villages of Jharsuguda through 340 Self-Help Groups (SHG). At its core, Subhalaxmi Co-operative has four basic components – Capacity Building and Livelihood Promotion, Financial Services (savings& credit facilities), Social Development, and Collaboration & Partnership.
Rahul Sharma, Deputy CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd., said, “We dedicate the prestigious BRICS Award to all the members of Subhalaxmi Co-operative and their determination to create a name for themselves in the society. We will continue to enable them to evolve into a movement of great transformation that will stand as a beacon of empowerment for women all over the world.”
“The principles of sustainable and responsible development have guided our action at and beyond operations. It has been our greatest honour to be the partner in progress of these superwomen from Jharsuguda. Hailing from humble backgrounds, they have challenged and overcome various stereotypes to establish themselves as trailblazers,” he added.
To ensure alternate means of livelihood for the women of the region, Subhalaxmi Co-operative provides need based financial services in terms of savings, credit and insurance; promotes micro enterprises through Business Development Services (BDS); links potential entrepreneurs and enterprises with suitable market opportunities; trains and educates the members, elected representatives and managing committee to ensure effective functioning of the society; and works for the sustainable development of the members.
Subhalaxmi Co-operative, with a fund base of over Rs 3.5 crore, has been supporting more than 1360 micro entrepreneurs engaged in agriculture and allied sectors, service trades, petty business shop and vending, animal husbandry, etc.
So far, it has done business of over Rs 30 crore through microfinance services alone.
It has created a unique social welfare fund ‘Subhalaxmi Mahila Kalyan Panthi’ to provide financial support to expecting mothers, scholarships to meritorious students of matriculation, support in case of demise of spouse, etc.