Bijli Sakhi helping rural women, 5395 active members collect bill worth Rs 62.50 crore
Members of WSHGs as ‘Bijli Sakhis’ have completed collection of power bills worth over Rs 62.50 crore from rural areas of the state.
Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government's initiative to include women self-help groups to help in meter reading and bill collection has now turned into an inspiring story of how women transformed and how this State Rural Livelihood Mission transformed the lives of women. Members of WSHGs as 'Bijli Sakhis' have completed collection of power bills worth over Rs 62.50 crore from rural areas of the state.
Anita Kumar, a resident of gram panchayat Bhasaun in Auraiya is one of the many women, who became a part of Self-Help Groups (SHG), engaged as 'Bijli Sakhi'. She had to leave her studies due to the poor financial condition of the family. After that, she joined the self-help group running in the village and started working as a Vidyut Sakhi (Bijli Sakhi) from December 2020 but initially, due to social disregard, she had to leave work in the middle. The financial condition of her family was deteriorating every day and then with the support of her father and brother she started the work again.
"It was only when I had started working that I began to feel confident, self-reliant and that I deserve respect," says Anita Kumari. "Times have changed for good. These days, even women can do technical work if they work hard enough. I am earning Rs 8000-9000 per month and with this income, I am able to support my family as well as bear the expenses of my studies," she told.
The state government's initiative to empower women and help them generate extra income by engaging them in the collection of electricity bill payments from the rural residents at their doorsteps is paying off.
Having done her graduation from a local degree college, this is the first time Yasmeen Bano of village Ahmedpur Khusumba, Fatehpur, stepped out of her home to work and support her family, just like dozens of other women who too have been employed as 'bijli sakhis' in Uttar Pradesh.
As a member of Hina Mahila Self Help Group for the last one and a half years, Yasmeen was doing sewing work but was not able to earn enough income to support her family financially. She was also suffering from a mouth disease and due to poor financial conditions, she could not afford treatment. After becoming Vidyut Sakhi, she is now earning Rs 8000 to 10,000 a month and also got treatment for his illness.
Under the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) had signed an agreement with the National Rural Livelihood Mission in all Districts of UP to allow Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to collect bill payments from the citizens at their doorsteps.
At present, 73 cluster level associations have been registered on the portal of UPPCL as an agency for electricity bill collection in 75 districts of the state. A total of 15310 women self-help group members have been selected for the purpose, out of which 5395 active members have done bill collection work worth Rs 62.50 crore.
This has, by far, generated a total commission of Rs 90.74 lakh to the members of the Women Self Help Groups. On average, a monthly income of Rs 3000-5000 and even more is being earned per woman from bill collection.