FLO takes its 36th annual session themed ‘Rising above COVID Challenges’ online

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 23, 2020

The 36th annual session of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Ladies Organization (FLO) was held virtually for the first time due to the coronavirus. The theme of the session was ‘Rising Above COVID Challenges’.

The session was divided into three segments. Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI was the chief guest and keynote speaker of the first session. Reddy announced for the first time in 36 years, a collaboration of FICCI and FLO to empower women economically. “An empowered woman can transform the world and with this collaboration, we look forward to touching at least 1 lakh women in the next 2-3 years and help them to lead a better life,” said Ms. Reddy.

Shri Om Birla, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, was the keynote speaker of the second session. He released FLO’s compilation of around 1200 grassroots women in business, named ‘Invisible Women: Bringing Them To The Front'. A Compilation Of Around 1200 Grassroots Women In Business.

Speaking at the occasion, Birla said: "To make our Prime Minister’s vision of self-sustainable India, we look forward to FLO’s continued efforts in empowering women in both rural and urban areas. Women are multi-tasker, we need to create a model where every woman sitting at home can be economically independent."

“We are going through a global crisis and are witnessing some unprecedented and difficult times. In India, the government is doing a commendable job to deal with this challenge and has come up with thoughtful and urgent economic relief packages, especially for the poor and the vulnerable section of the society. As a part of the civil society and a business chamber, we look forward to FLO’s support to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to help respond to this global outbreak,” added the Lok Sabha speaker.

According to FLO President, Harjinder Kaur Talwar, this is a compilation of grassroots women in enterprises, who were once landless laborers or poor housewives, are now earning their own livelihoods and becoming self-reliant with small businesses. “We may have often seen them selling tea in the corners or selling snacks or even running beauty parlors or tailoring. But these are mostly unorganized and their stories go undocumented,” she said.

“Our primary agenda is to create a pool of information on these grassroots women and connect them to the relevant administrative bodies in the Government and facilitate assistance to these women in accessing finance and help them scale up,” Talwar added.

It was followed by the release of the Annual Report, which encapsulates the activities undertaken by FLO pan India in the year 2019-20.

“Every year, the Annual Session culminates in the review of the activities undertaken by FLO, as also the milestones achieved during the year. It brings into focus the progress made by FLO in the objectives of entrepreneurship development and professional excellence. The session is a perfect platform for sharing best practices and experiences across 17 locations pan India, in a unified effort to play a catalystic role towards women empowerment. It also marks the ushering in a new year and continuing the legacy that FLO has walked upon, in the past 36 years of its existence,” added Ms. Talwar.

Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General FICCI addressed the third session and announced the names of the Office Bearers & Governing Body Members of FLO for the year 2020-21. He also suggested if FLO could take the initiative to organize sessions on maintaining social distancing amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, as the country is about to open up.

Jahnabi Phookan, Director, JTI Group took over the mantle as the 37th President of FICCI Ladies Organization from Harjinder Kaur Talwar, MD & CEO at Comvision India Pvt. Ltd.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Phookan said that, in her role as the National President, she will focus on empowering women with entrepreneurship capabilities and professional excellence, enabling them to take up new challenges and avail of new opportunities.

Published on May 23, 2020

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