Women Self Help Groups Symbol for Economic Renaissance and Social Empowerment Move to scrap them, to be discouraged!
Despite the passing of 45 years of bank nationalization Financial Inclusion still continues as unfinished agenda in the development policy of the Government. Fight against financial exclusion with the ultimate goal of reaching the un reached continues as the running agenda.To reach the rural folks who are predominant population and with special emphasis to lend for rural women through Self Help Groups, an informal organizational set up which does not require any registration warranted under law.
Self Help Group lending is unique by ensuring the initial saving by group members and later on lending to them by banks based on their savings potential. SHG lending satisfies the production credit requirements of the group members as well as their consumption credit which is more required to meet the social commitments, health care, education to the wards of the members' family, which is normally not being lent by banks through other channels to the desired levels.
Recovery of the loan lent by banks is also significant very much because of the group members’ commitment both for availing loan and for repaying the dues. Such sort of synergic effect does not prevail in other types of bank lending products. With all these positive and facilitating attributes, SHL lending to women becomes a grand success compared to big ticket lending to corporate, many of which culminate to write off at a later stage.
But the present Union Government does not think about the value of the SHL lending, its utility and the impact it has created in the rural side among the women folk. It has been pronounced by the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Ms. Menaka Gandhi that the idea of SHL lending was humiliating to women and is “the best way to end up in bad debts.” On the contrary she encouraged individual lending to women instead of through Self Help Groups. The advantageous intricacies involved in SHG lending are ignored. Individual lending to women in a way may make the borrower prosper economically. But the economic renaissance and the social empowerment can be enabled to women only through group concept.
Saving coupled with loan availing is the sustained policy for banking development or for any financial intermediary.The main objective of bank nationalization to liberate the rural masses from the clutches of money lenders is fully achieved through SHG lending.
The achievements under SHG say, in Tamil Nadu a total amount of Rs.2658 Cr has been saved so far by 75,66,497 women through 4,88,970 Self Help Group which facilitated them to avail loan from banks to the total limit of Rs.9521 Cr. In the State of Karnataka poor women have been empowered through 1.40 lakh Self Help Groups with the total saving initiatives of Rs.1553 Cr enabling them to avail a financial outlay of Rs.2536 Cr.
Not even 1 per cent of women in the world have property in their name. With such general scenario more than the economic prosperity, it is social and economic empowerment that becomes a major achievement. With the prevalence of all these advantageous features for all the parties involved in the process of Self Help Group, where is the need to scrap it? What is the background to pronounce it as a policy of the Government except for the sake of its Hindutva agenda which always keep womanhood at bay.
Insulting womanhood and weakening the women empowerment is the dogmatic prescription of Hindutva. Political governance is for economic welfare and social progress of the people.
The approach of Narendra Modi as the head of National Democratic Alliance Government for the development is always strategic; at what cost? Yes, it is seducing the economic welfare and social progress of the countrymen for the cause of the religious supremacy which dogmatically supports women suppression.
The political and social leaders cum statesmen have already raised their voices against the scrapping move of the Self Help Groups by the Government. Yes, the so called Minimum Government with Maximum Governance. During her earlier tenure, the Child Development Minister had encouraged diversion of development of fund allocated for the cause of social justice, meant for humans to the welfare of animals. Now, the self assured and assertive progress of rural women gets scrapped by the move of the minister. Does the Prime Minister remain asleep or pretend as if he sleeps? Let awakening arise to keep the Self Help Group lending channel alive for adding empowerment to rural women !