The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired a meeting to review the progress achieved under the centrally sponsored scheme ‘UMEED’ in Jammu and Kashmir.Principal Secretary, Rural Development Department and Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihood Mission along with concerned officers of the Department participated in the meeting.It was informed that J&K Rural Livelihood Mission has so far established 46,000 self-help groups and linked them to financial institutions, besides releasing Rs. 15.82 crore in favour of 3,955 Self Help Groups. During the current financial year two additional blocks have been brought under the fold of J&K Rural Livelihood Mission.Asserting that self help groups have huge potential in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Mehta directed the JKRLM to ensure establishment of additional 11,000 self help groups by 30th September, 2021 by ensuring social mobilization of rural women, besides identifying various commercial activities suited for the rural economy to establish fruitful forward and backward linkages.The Chief Secretary further directed the Mission to immediately establish permanent SHG haats at district and block headquarters for providing a ready market to various SHG products. The Mission was asked to draw a SHG-wise calendar for all districts and give wide publicity to weekly sales of diverse products in advance. He also directed appointment of ‘Bank Sakhis’ in Panchayats having more than 50 SHG bank linkages to assist SHG members in availing various banking facilities.Dr. Mehta urged upon the Principal Secretary RDD to take up convergence between agriculture-based rural SHGs and various other schemes of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, and animal and sheep husbandry departments; to evaluate their contribution in doubling the farmers’ income. It was also decided that interactions will be held with leaders of SHGs of all districts to obtain a feedback on the functioning of the scheme.It was also informed that the Mission has trained 8,039 mahila kissan in agro-ecological practices, besides establishing all-women dairy FPO of 250 Self Help Groups (SHG) members in convergence with NABARD.To enhance market opportunities and strengthen marketing linkages, the Mission has hired two marketing agencies for training and entrepreneurship development of rural SHG women with special focus on institutional innovation of SHG products for enhancing their competitiveness.