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Shri Giriraj Singh, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, GOI, inaugurated the GNFC-KVIC Neem project unit for manufacturing of Neem soaps at Bharuch
Gujarat, March 29, 2018: Neem Soap Unit set up by Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (GNFC) under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and supported by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is inaugurated today by Shri Giriraj Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for MSME. This is another major milestone for the innovative Neem Project that has contributed to the empowerment of 4.5 Lakhs rural women in the last three years by generating an additional income of INR 45 Crores for them.

GNFC’s CSR arm Narmadanagar Rural Development Society (NARDES) actively developed the infrastructure for the Unit and enabled skill development among women, in accordance with PMEGP. NARDES coordinated with KVIC for the institution of the Neem Soap unit, which has a capacity to manufacture 225 MT of Neem soap per annum worth INR 4.3 Crores. It also mobilised women and trained them in Neem soap making, along with the ITI in Bharuch. They have been certified as Soap Makers.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Hon’ble Chief Guest, Shri Giriraj Singh said, “I congratulate Dr. Gupta, MD of GNFC for implementing Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Neem coating of 100% Urea. This soap is not merely an organic Neem soap, as it is made with the effort and hard labour of Indian rural women. We visualise face of every woman on the Neem soap made by GNFC. When Neem seeds are converted into these products, women get 10 times more monetary benefit, and better livelihood.”

Also present at the inauguration, Shri RC Faldu, Minister of Agricultural Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Transport of Government of Gujarat, congratulated the efforts of GNFC on undertaking the cause of women empowerment and livelihood not only in Gujarat but also in other states of India. Other dignitaries, who graced the occasion were Shri Mansukhbhai Vasava, Member of Parliament from Bharuch; Shri Dushyantbhai Patel, MLA from Bharuch; and Shri Sanjay Hedaoo, State Head of KVIC.

Shri Giriraj Singh while inspecting the Neem complex and manufacturing facilities, lauded the sustainable business model adopted by GNFC and also appreciated the record time of 3 months in which the unit was set up. The unit is partially funded with a grant of INR 24 Lakhs under the PMEGP.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta IAS, Managing Director, GNFC said, “At GNFC, we are a firm believer of sustainable growth with meaningful contribution to the development of the society. We are extremely happy to have launched this Neem Soap Unit under PMEGP scheme, along with the support of KVIC that has enabled us to continue the exceptional work of Neem Project, which has been inspired by our Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Neem coating of 100% Urea.”

At the inaugural function this morning, these women who are part of neem seed collection were awarded and felicitated by the chief guest. The main focus of this Neem project is women empowerment, upliftment and welfare of Women and their families.

The project has been active in 53 districts across 5000 villages in six states of India. During the last three years, by collecting over 45,000MT of Neem seeds, more than INR 45 Crores income has been generated for around 4.5 Lakhs rural women. GNFC's approach has been lauded in the UNDP Impact Assessment Survey which concluded that there has been significant decrease in domestic violence, increase in asset creation and education expenditure.

The Neem Project has been appreciated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in numerous forums for its positive impact on the rural people of Gujarat. It has been conferred upon many awards, including Porter Prize, CII-ITC Excellence in CSR Award, Global CSR Award, Golden Peacock Award, India CSR Award, etc. GNFC has also actively partnered with IFFCO, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, etc., to carry forward the work of women empowerment.