Pune: Punyashree Shops To Provide Market For Products Of Self-Help Group

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Pune, 20th October 2022: Pune District’s Guardian Minister Chandrakant Dada Patil inaugurated the first Punyashree Shop at Wadeshwar Village in Maval Taluka of Pune District. Punyashree is a brand of retail shops promoted by Pune Zilha Parishad across Pune District through a bank-linked subsidy scheme worth Rs two crores to provide retail space for products manufactured by Self Help Groups.


Under the Pune Zilla Parishad scheme, Self Help Groups or women micro-entrepreneurs could seek term loans for capital expenditure and overdraft credit for operational costs from scheduled-commercial banks to set up or upgrade shops. Pune Zilla Parishad provides need-based capital subsidy against these loans to 60 Punyashree Shops in this financial year. The scheme would help overcome the challenge of finding retail space for products manufactured by self-help groups. Zilla Parishad has been organizing fairs to provide market space as the Diwali Mela is currently organized at Pune Zilla Parishad, Council Hall and Central Building.


Over the last two years, the number of Self-Help Groups has increased by six times in the district. Nearly 2.5 lakh women are part of Self-Help Groups, and nearly Rs 300 crore of Bank Credit has been extended to them in the last 18 months. Pune District Planning and Development Committee has sanctioned Rs 39 lakh to Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) to conduct a survey to identify production skills and raw materials for value-added production; prepare plans for production and marketing; set quality standards and support them in accessing skill training; and bank credit. Pune Zilla Parishad has divided Pune 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 of production to sustain regular retail outlets.


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“The Punyashree Retail Shops have been standardized in design, book-keeping, supply chain management and operations. Since production and sale would now be handled by different enterprises and since the retailers would get products from different Self-Help Groups, Punyashree Shops would be able to enforce quality standards in the products being manufactured by Self-Help Groups. It will help in the accurate discovery of price, compatible with the market, and thereby help mitigate the usual complaint that products of Self-Help Groups are over-priced. The Self-Help Groups would also become more responsive to the demands of the market. This supply-side push would help develop a market for products manufactured by the Self-Help Groups,” Ayush Prasad, CEO of Pune Zilla Parishad, said.


Pune Zilla Parishad has warehouses in Panchayat Samiti premises that were used to store items meant for distribution under schemes of Social Welfare, Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Women and Child Development Departments. Since the policy of Direct Benefits Transfer was adopted, these warehouses have been lying unused. “The warehouse at Market Yard in Pune City has been converted into a Central Files Depot to safely store official records – a new concept in governance. Pune Zilla Parishad has proposed to rent these warehouses to Cluster Federations of Self-Help Groups at nominal costs. The cluster federation of Self-Help Groups would store items for Punyashree Shops thereby ensuring supply-chain management. Also, they shall use the space as a wholesale market, similar to APMC, for products of Self Help Groups where Self Help Groups operating Punyashree Shops can purchase products from Self Help Groups,” Prasad explained. An e-Market donated under CSR is also in the pipeline. Since the warehouses are located in Taluka Headquarters which are upcoming Towns around Pune, the Cluster Federation can take online, calls received by the Zilla Parishad Call Center and forward them to the Cluster Federation or offline orders for products of Self-Help Groups and get the items home-delivered to them.


Punyashree shops would help generate regular sales of products and thereby generate regular incomes. For most homes, it would help double household incomes by increasing the participation of women in the workforce. They would help create employment in remote parts of the district in retail sales and the production of items. It would create incentives for sustainable investments and growth of the micro-enterprises opened & operated by women who are part of Self-Help Groups. The Punyashree Scheme increases productivity and generates employment, and has been budgeted by replacing several schemes of “Freebies.”


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