Puri: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced interest free loan for women self help groups (SHGs) in the State.

Attending a State-level Mission Shakti convention in Puri, Patnaik announced loan at zero per cent interest for SHGs.

He said that women SHGs will now get ‘seed money’ of Rs 15,000, Rs 3,000 for smartphones and Rs 25 lakh assistance for block-level federations.

Mission Shakti is an initiative started in 2001 aiming at economic empowerment of women by forming SHGs and providing them with loans through banks at low interest rate to take up various livelihood opportunities.

The convention also witnessed distribution of cash among block level federations of women SHGs and incentives to anganwadi workers and helpers.

The Women and Child Development Department planned the grand convention.

Around 50,000 women self-help group (SHG) members from coastal districts attended the convention.

Odisha at present has around six lakh SHGs having 70 lakh women. The SHGs have a total saving of Rs 5,000 crore in different banks.