Women entrepreneurship development is the instrument of women empowerment. Empowerment leads to self-fulfilment and women become aware of where they are going, what their position is in the society, their status; existence and rights; and women are becoming more empowered, personally and economically through CSC.
Urmila Bhargav is such CSC VLE who has transformed the lives of thousands of women and their families across 10 villages in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh.
Born into a poor family in the village of Nateran, Urmila completed her Masters in Political Science and expected to adopt the role of housewife after the marriage. But, she remained motivated to learn, grow and lead. She became a member of one of the self-help groups in the village Nateran. She was trained at Haqdarshak, a tech platform that connects citizens with their eligible welfare schemes. Thus, she started earning Rs.1500 per month. Last year, she joined CSC as VLE. Urmila’s determination to make a difference was recognized early on. With encouragement and technical training she advanced as an active woman VLE.
As CSC VLE, she is empowering rural women so that they can take advantage of economic and social opportunities. Her Self-help group also gives women a chance to be involved in decision-making processes – often for the first time – and allow them to gain control over their lives.
She is working with women in 10 villages helping them to apply for the schemes to ensure last-mile support. She is using technology to transform how citizens access their entitlements. She goes door-to-door and helps citizens in various G2C services. The women taking part in her initiative are also earning good incomes. But most importantly, they and their families are being empowered.
However, Urmila’s work did not stop there. Many of the villagers living in the tribal-dominated areas live in impoverished conditions with marginal land holdings and underutilized resources. Her aim was not only to ensure economic well-being, but also to further improve the education of their children.
The story of 69 years old tribal woman Usha devi from Pipriyaghat village is one of the successful examples of Urmila’s initiatives. Usha devi has been a cattle grazer for the last few decades. She was unable to receive her oldage pension in the lack of PAN card. VLE Urmila went to her residence and made not only her PAN and Ayushman Bharat cards, but also disbursed her pension through DigiPay. The VLE has helped around thousands of such tribal women in Beed Sarkar, Katsara, Berkhedi, Pipriyaghat, Ahmadpur, Berkhedi Bujurg, Karaiya Hat villages.
Women empowerment has progressed beyond being an urban phenomenon in these remote tribal villages in Vidisha as VLE Urmila is bringing a paradigm shift at grassroots level. She is empowering these rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health and nutrition.
VLE says, “Women from indigenous and grassroots communities are often also custodians of traditional knowledge, which is key for their communities’ livelihoods, resilience and culture. They are integral in the rural economy as farmers, wage earners and entrepreneurs. They are the key ‘Agents of Change’ for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for continued development. Empowering rural women by creating employment opportunities contributes to inclusive and economic growth.”