Vedanta Jharsuguda’s flagship CSR initiative, the all-women Subhalaxmi Co-operative
Society has crossed 4000 membership tally, becoming one of the largest rural women’s co-
operative in Odisha.
Incepted by Vedanta in 2008 with 10 women and a fund base of Rs.1000, the co-operative
currently has a membership count of more than 4000 and a treasury worth over Rs 3 crore,
according to a statement issued by the Oil & Gas and Metals company.
Speaking about Vedanta’s partnership with the co-operative, C N Singh, CEO, Vedanta
Jharusuguda says, “Vedanta is committed to the development of women and children in
India, especially those hailing from underprivileged backgrounds and marginal communities.
The journey of Subhalaxmi Co-op stands testimony to how organizations like ours and such
communities can collaborate to build an institution of social good, transforming many lives
along the way. It makes us immensely proud to see thousands of women who were once
shy of stepping outside their houses, become entrepreneurs, taking destiny into their own
hands and shaping it on their own terms.”
Subhalaxmi Co-op is engaged in promoting sustainable livelihood opportunities among rural
women, creating avenues for entrepreneurship through skill development and providing
financial assistance to the members for furthering their livelihood. Though dedicated efforts
and positive word-of-mouth, today the co-op has amassed the support of 331 Self-Help
Groups (SHGs) across 72 villages of Jharsuguda. Members of the co-op own and run
several micro-enterprises like fast food centers, packaged snacks, poultry farms, grocery
stores, beauty parlours, tailoring centres, vegetable cultivation, etc.
Rashmilata Behra, Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Odisha government and
Management In-Charge – Subhalaxmi Co-op, said each member of Subhalaxmi has access
to doorstep-facilities like savings, loans, knowledge and skills trainings for enterprise
development. “More importantly, they have the strength and collective security of thousands
of women who continuously encourage and support each other to succeed,” she said.
The co-operative offers a special provision in the form of ‘Udyami Fund’ which helps
dedicated entrepreneurs avail higher loan amounts for procuring machinery, raw material
support, market linkage and access to specialized trainings. Subhalaxmi also has a welfare
fund called ‘Mahila Kalyan Panthi’, created with contribution from all members, which helps
support them during critical phases in their lives like pregnancy, matriculation of children,
death in the family and so on.
Over the past decade, Subhalaxmi has evolved into a micro-finance institution as well as
social change-agent, earning many laurels. The co-op has undertaken various significant
campaigns over the years in Jharsuguda’s rural margins, like financial inclusion and social
empowerment of women, mainstreaming of rural entrepreneurship, Swachh Bharat and
general cleanliness drives, awareness against open-defecation, promotion of girl child’s
education and safety, and many more.
Vedanta is India’s largest producer of the green-metal, aluminium, operating a world-class
1.6 MTPA aluminium smelter and 3615 MW thermal power generation facility in Jharsuguda,
Odisha. The only Indian smelter in the global ‘1 Million Tonne’ production and export club,
Vedanta Jharsuguda is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical
applications across core industries. With one of the largest technically qualified and diverse
workforces in the country, the company is working towards a sustainable and greener future
for all by spurring emerging applications of aluminium, the ‘Metal of the Future’.
By: Murtuza Merchant