SARAS Ajeevika Mela, an initiative of the Union Ministry of Rural Development aimed at empowering Self Help Group (SHG) women across the nation has finally made its entry into Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory with Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission (JKRLM) organizing the first of its kind SARAS Ajeevika Mela in Jammu at Aquaplex Crown, near Aquarium, Bagh-e-Bahu. SARAS Mela aims at improving business and market linkages by facilitating and motivating the beneficiaries of Self Help Groups to exhibit and sell their products and to provide them the opportunities for making additional income besides exposure and interaction on a large scale. While the Union Govt deserves full marks for this multipurpose project that is all set to have a far reaching impact on empowerment of rural women besides giving a strong push to the rural economy, at the same time the UT Administration deserves equal appreciation for introducing it in this region as part of the ongoing process of transformation of every sector in J&K, embarked upon by the Administration led by astute administer Manoj Sinha. It would not be wrong to state that SARAS Ajeevika Mela event is the power engine that will undoubtedly lead to achieving multiple goals including ‘Vocal for Local’, ‘Local to Global’, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘Women Empowerment ‘Cultural Integration’, and last but not the least unprecedented economic boost that would ultimately transform the nation into ‘New India’ as envisioned by the Prime Minister. It is pertinent to mention here that the Union Govt. is committed to support rural women in every possible manner in raising the rural economy and economic stability in our rural areas, be it farm-based livelihoods/non-farm livelihoods/Trading/ Service providing, with women at the forefront not only changing their lives but that of their families too. The unique feature of this mega event here in this UT is that Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM) is not only focusing on their economic upliftment but also on making these self help group women social leaders and motivators strong enough to become the change that they desire at the local, national and international level. Definitely JKRLM deserves full kudos for this added innovation that will go a long way in transforming the role of J&K women by imbibing in them the best leadership qualities. The relentless efforts of the J&K Administration especially those of JKRLM seem to be heading steadily towards success that is evident from the heavy footfall at the Mela during the first few days. More than 300 rural SHG craftswomen and artisans from 17 States participating in the event are taking full advantage of the opportunity to display and sell indigenous handicraft, handloom and natural food items from different rural areas across the country at various stalls, thus getting healthy marketing linkages with various selling platforms. It would not be wrong to state that this mega event will undoubtedly provide lucrative opportunities to rural producers to sell their products directly in major markets, interact with the buyers directly assessing their tastes, preferences and choices and accordingly enhancing their products further. Moreover, the Mela is an endeavour to eradicate middlemen between the craftsperson and the local buyers thus ensuring the increase in profit margin of the artisans. It would be injustice not to highlight the lively and vibrant environment at the picturesque location of the event with visitors enjoying the taste of delicacies from various parts of the nation at the Food Court especially in the evenings adorned with the cultural programmes providing them a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of the world’s largest democracy. To conclude, it can be asserted with authority that SARAS Ajeevika Mela, focusing on the theme of ‘tradition, art, craft and culture’ is one of the most prestigious initiatives of the Govt that is not just a window of the cultural heritage, but it also narrates the story of rural women’s transformation journey towards entrepreneurship at the national level platform. It is hoped that this significant and unique handholding initiative of the Govt will definitely reduce poverty by building strong grass-root institutions for the poor across Jammu and Kashmir by engaging the rural women in gainful livelihood intervention and ensuring appreciable improvement in their incomes.