Puri: On a election year, the Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, Saturday doled out Rs 700 crore worth of financial assistance under Mission Shakti programme to about 70 lakh women members of 6 lakh Self-help Groups(SHGs) in the state.

Patnaik, while addressing a state-level convention of Mission Shakti which was attended by over 60,000 SHGs woman members , here on Saturday, announced that women SHGs will get interest free loan upto Rs 3 lakh.

He also announced that cheque of Rs 15,000 will be given to 3 lakh new women SHGs as seed money. Besides, Patnaik announced to provide financial assistance of Rs 3,000 to each SHG for purchase of smartphone. During the Make in Odisha conclave last year, the CM had announced to provide smart phones to six lakhs women SHGs in a bid to empower them digitally and further accelerate their socio-political and economic empowerment.

This apart, revolving fund of Rs 25 lakh will be given to each of the 338 existing block federations of SHGs.

More than 60,000 members from 29,000 women SHGs from various places across the State attended the programme.