Ramesh Chaurasia- Encouraging women to take small steps to achieve big goals

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia is a successful businessman, philanthropist and also a family man. He also plays many other roles that enable him to uplift vulnerable groups. As the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha, he contributes in all forms to uplift the people of the Chaurasia-Tamboli community. We talked to him on the role of small-scale industries in generating employment along with the role of this industry in women upliftment. He is one of the most active leaders from within the Chaurasia community who are working on the ground to improve the lives around them.

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia said, “When we have big dreams for a community, we often overlook the small things and small steps. Setting up bigger enterprises and industries takes a lot of time, a lot of resources, and many obstacles have to be dealt with. It takes a long struggle to generate employment through it. On the other hand, small scale industries can be set up in shorter periods and can also generate large scale job opportunities. This does not mean that there are no challenges in setting up such industries. But the challenges can be dealt together quickly if we work with a systematic approach.”

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Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia has previously also talked about forming groups at local levels which can plan, implement, assess, and solve issues related to any project. This can be particularly helpful for small scale industries, cottage industries, women centric projects, awarenes campaigns, etc. The women’s wing of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha has been working on forming such groups since a long time.

Mr. Chaurasia talked about some of the challenges faced while setting up these small-scale cottage industries.

He said, “Without proper guidance and awareness, it can be difficult to arrange for finances. People are still not aware about microfinance schemes especially for women. Without forming groups that have common goals and without assigning roles according to capabilities, there are chances of mismanagement which eventually lead to complete failure. People also need to deal with and tackle issues like lack of infrastructure, access to raw materials, lack of buyers, competition with large scale industries, etc. These can be dealt with if the right training, support, and awareness are provided. Also, the people involved need to focus on quality. If one can provide something which really adds value to people’s lives, then it gets easier to find buyers. Our organization has been providing training, running campaigns, arranging financial help, helping in availing government schemes, etc, so that our community can generate employment and become self-sufficient. A lot of problems multiplied during the Pandemic but things are again getting better. Now, we also want to plan ahead for such events and disasters.”

The Chauraisa community was primarily engaged in agriculture and betel leaf trade. Like with every other community, their members too are now employed in several other fields and many are entrepreneurs. But those involved in farming have struggled due to many factors. They are being educated about diversifying their agricultural practices. Women in these families or in other vulnerable groups suffer due to lack of representation, lack of recognition of their input and of the outputs they generate. They additionally suffer from lack of education, and also from lack of opportunities. Small scale cottage industries prove to be empowering, especially for women. There are so many examples of such industries in our country that have uplifted several communities. A senior female member of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha also shared her views and the vision of the organisation. She said, “Women especially from agricultural families can start cottage industries. A big advantage of such industries is that entire family can be engaged in such initiatives. This also helps in dealing with social and family issues arising from unemployment. Even farmers can be engaged in this and the industry can be based around agricultural produce. Our initiatives to encourage women to form self-help groups can also help them in setting up such industries. We want to help them in adopting modern technology for this in order to compete with larger players. Our organization is preparing to impart specific industrial training, financial assistance, help with government aids, and clearing access to markets for women. Such small-scale industries uplift women which in turn uplifts families. Empowered families empower a community. And such communities lead to national progress.”