West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday renewed her commitment to develop rural economy, remove poverty and encourage self-employment in the state.
"We need to develop rural economy on a faster pace through strong grassroot institutions like Self Help Groups (SHG)," Banerjee said while launching the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) project here.
The project, a joint initiative of the Centre and the state government, named by Banerjee as 'Anandadhara', is aimed at achieving self-reliance and socio-economic development of the rural poor in the state.
The chief minister also announced setting up of a "task force" to speed up the project under the chairmanship of the state's Panchayat and Rural Development Minister, Subrata Mukherjee.
The task force would also comprise ministers of various other departments involved in the project, she said.
Lauding the work of the SHGs, Banerjee asked the nationalised banks and NABARD to see that loans were made available in time.
Urging officials to expedite work under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), Banerjee announced an increase in government subsidy from 20 per cent to 30 per cent to the SHGs for its various poverty alleviation projects. She asked them to create market for SHG produce.
Speaking about her government's success in MGNREGA, Banerjee said that the state has achieved 33 days' work this year under the 100-days work scheme, while the next year's target has been set at 60 days.
A host of her cabinet colleagues, besides Union Minister of State for Rural Development Sisir Adhikari and Speaker of West Bengal Assembly Biman Bandyopadhyay graced the occasion.