New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday emphasised on empowering women to make them “bulwarks” against social evils.

Modi said financial independence makes a woman assertive and empowered. “Financially empowered women are a bulwark against social evils,” he said.

“The most important thing is to let women know their potential and talent, and letting them avail opportunities,” the Prime Minister said here while interacting with over one crore women associated with self-help groups through videoconferencing.

“Women leave behind all obstacles if and when they are given opportunities to progress,” he said. “They are enterprising; they do not need to be taught; they only need to be given opportunities to perform.”

Modi said “whichever sector you look at today, you will find women working in huge numbers there”. “Agriculture and dairy sectors in the country are unimaginable without the contribution of women.”

He also said that about five crore women are reaping the benefits of 4.5 million self-help groups which have been made for them.

“Since 2014 the government has created 2 million self-help groups on priority, and over 22.5 million families have been brought into their fold,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the network of the self-help groups had spread across the country and was associated with different kinds of businesses. The government was providing them training, financial help and opportunity.

After interacting with Amrita Devi from Patna, Modi said: “We heard how her life changed after she associated with the self-help groups. I am sharing a few more examples from Bihar.

“In Bihar over 250,000 people are associated with self-help groups and are doing better paddy farming after receiving proper training. In the same way, over 200,000 people are using new techniques in vegetable farming.”

The Prime Minister also said that in 22 districts of Chhattisgarh, 122 Bihan Bazaar outlets have been set up where over 200 varieties of products made by self-help groups were being sold.