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Punyashree Stores Of Pune Empowering Women SHGs

These are a brand of retail shops promoted by Pune Zilha Parishad across the district They are part of a bank-linked subsidy scheme worth Rs 2 crore They provide retail space for products manufactured by Self Help Groups

In the post-pandemic economy, Pune Zila Parishad has come up with a magic wand that uses local product to generate prosperity and job in the district. 

To promote and provide retail space for products manufactured by Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the Maharashtra district, the Pune District Rural Development Authority has established Punyashree Stores. Forty-one such stores have been set up across the district since January with the help of capital subsidy schemes and bank loans. 

The concept behind it is a D-mart store, small but a proper market to purchase products. Pune Zila Parishad CEO, Ayush Prasad, a 2015 IAS batch officer, informed Indian Masterminds that these stores came up, “in a bid to double household incomes by increasing the participation of women in the workforce and also to help overcome the challenge of finding retail space for products manufactured by self-help groups”.

AIDING RURAL ECONOMY

“These stores have been standardized in design, book-keeping, supply chain management and operations,” said Mr. Prasad. 

Since production and sale are handled by different enterprises and since the retailers get products from different SHGs, Punyashree Shops are able to enforce quality standards in the products being manufactured by SHGs, the officer added. 

Pune ZP has divided the district into 75 clusters and is implementing the One Cluster – One Product Concept to identify local products, skills and plans for proper production and marketing. These steps have ensured that there are sufficient volumes to sustain regular retail outlets, he explained.

Many rural enterprises manufacture unique, high-quality products and their purchase can contribute to the growth of the local economy besides showcasing their craftsmanship to the world. “By purchasing products from these businesses, we not only are supporting local entrepreneurs but also helping in sustaining rural livelihoods and communities,” Mr. Prasad said. 

PLANNING AND EXECUTION

With the Direct Benefit Transfer policy in place, the warehouses of Pune Zila Parishad have remained unused. Now these are being provided to Cluster Federations of SHGs as storage facilities, a place for sales between producers and retailers such as Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs), and also to facilitate sales on online markets.

This move by the Zila Parishad is expected to strengthen the supply chain from production to sales and create more employment opportunities and income for SHG members.

The officer further informed Indian Masterminds that the results are good and the per day turnover is over Rs 5,000.

POST-COVID BLESSINGS

The Punyashree shops have helped generate regular sales of products and thereby generated regular incomes for most homes, especially in the past few months. 

These stores have created employment in remote parts of the district in retail sales and production of items. It has created incentives for sustainable investments and growth of the micro-enterprises opened and operated by women.

“Supporting local rural enterprises becomes all the more crucial in the aftermath of the pandemic as these businesses are struggling to sustain jobs and livelihoods,” Mr. Prasad said in conclusion.

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