Homemakers-turned-businesswomen have become job providers in rural Bihar

Patna, March 8 (IANS) A number of homemakers-turned-businesswomen in Bihar are providing jobs to other women in rural areas of the state

One of them is Ramwati Devi, a native of Bahuarwa Village in West Champaran District. She started a paper cup and plate manufacturing plant in her village and now dozens of women are working with her.

"I was inspired by a video on YouTube and decided to enter the paper cup and plate manufacturing business. I consulted my husband and also discussed the matter with the Jivika Didis of my village. They supported me in arranging a loan from the bank. I started the manufacturing unit on a small scale in 2018 and now, within five years of starting the unit, I am giving jobs to dozens of women in my village,” she said.

Ramwati Devi added, “At present, we are producing around 70,000 cups and plates per day. Moreover, the waste material from the unit is used in the manufacture of egg trays. It has improved our financial status a lot.”

Another job creator, Manju Devi of Gaya's Anjaneya Tada Village is also an inspiration for women in Bihar, especially in the rural areas.

Manju Devi came into the limelight due to her decision to grow lemongrass in her farm and is now earning around Rs 10 lakh per annum.

“I learnt that lemongrass is very useful and there is a big demand for it in the medicine industry. The central and state governments were also running campaigns and trying to inspire farmers to cultivate lemongrass. I liked the idea and took the help of my husband to learn about lemongrass farming.

“He went to the agriculture department and learnt about lemongrass cultivation and then taught me,” Manju Devi said.

“As the farmers of my village were involved in growing regular crops like wheat and paddy, the villagers initially taunted me for farming lemongrass, but I stuck to my decision. Currently, I am growing lemongrass on 15 acres of land and earning more than Rs 10 lakh per year. I have also employed many women to help me in my farm and I pay them for their services,” she said.

Lemongrass is useful in manufacturing vitamin A tablets and other medicinal products, apart from sanitisers, cosmetics, phenol etc.

Lemongrass oil is a popular product that is used in spas and also in the tea industry. Traditionally, people used to put lemongrass in their tea as it has medicinal properties.

Manju Devi has won many awards in the agriculture sector and has become a well-known name in the state, to the extent that Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, also knew about her.

Rajkumari Devi, popularly known as ‘Kisan Chachi’ is another woman from Bihar who has inspired many in the country. A 2019 Padma Shri recipient, Rajkumari Devi is a resident of Anandpur Village under Saraiya block in Muzaffarpur District.

She faced many hurdles in the early stages of her life. After passing her class 10th Board examination in 1974, Rajkumari Devi wanted to study further and become a teacher but her family members did not allow her to finish her education.

After her marriage to Awadesh Kumar Choudhary, she started living with her in-laws in Anandpur Village. “As the financial status of our family was not good, I started growing vegetables in our farm. The villagers laughed at me but I did not care. I met the officials of the agriculture department and learnt how to cultivate vegetables in a scientific manner. However, as the earnings from vegetable farming were very low, I started manufacturing pickles,” Rajkumari Devi said.

Rajkumari Devi continued, “In the year 2000, I started pickle production using mango, chilli, lemon, mixed vegetables and many others. I used to go door to door on my bicycle and sell pickles in the village. Many people taunted me for riding a bicycle and selling pickles from house to house, but I ignored them and concentrated on my work.”

The rest, as they say, is history. In 2003, former Bihar Chief Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, gave her an award during the agriculture fair. She also got an award in 2007 and she became even more popular after superstar Amitabh Bachchan appreciated her work.

CM Nitish Kumar also gave her a tractor and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, too, awarded her.

Today, Rajkumari Devi employs many women in her pickle manufacturing business and her pickles are famous across the world.


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