Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday emphasised the importance of welfare of women saying without it, the development in the society would be lopsided.
"The welfare of women is imperative for the holistic development of society. The development is lopsided without the welfare of women," he told a gathering of women beneficiaries under the `Umeed` scheme at Khansahib in Budgam district.
The Chief Minister expressed happiness over the enthusiasm in women to participate in socio-economic welfare schemes to earn respectable livelihood and create a society free from evils and atrocities.
"I am happy to see the enthusiasm in women to participate in socio-economic welfare schemes to earn respectable livelihood and create a society free from evils and atrocities," he said.
Omar said it is highly encouraging that the `Umeed` programme has taken roots quickly in the state and in a short period of six months, its impact is amply visible on ground.
He described the `Umeed` scheme as an effective mean to empower women and help them earn independent livelihood.
Omar said involvement of women at the grassroot level to transform their socio-economic status and open new windows for their development could be achieved through programmes like Umeed.
After ensuring participation of women in Panchayat electins by making reservation for them, the Umeed scheme is yet another initiative aimed at empowerment and welfare of the women particularly those living in villages, he said.
The Chief Minister stressed the need for bringing more and more women under its fold and organising their groups to work in unity to seek welfare and fight social evils.
Omar expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh for extending Umeed scheme to all blocks in the state.
He said during the next five years, all 143 blocks in the state would be covered under `Umeed`.
Rolled out this year, Lar, Khansahib, Chenani and Basohli blocks were covered under resource block strategy in the first phase of the programme. These blocks have been divided into six clusters.
As many as 923 groups have been formed in the two resource blocks of Jammu division and 891 groups have opened their bank accounts, an official spokesman said.
In Kashmir division, 483 groups have been formed and all of these have opened their bank accounts.
Under Umeed 22 blocks, one each from each district, would be developed as resource block in the first two years.
As many as 23040 families have been covered under Umeed and the number of benefiting families will touch nine lakh figure during the next five years, the spokesman said.