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SHGs aspire for bigger role as they near 30-year milestone

K. V. Kurmanath | | Updated on: Dec 04, 2021
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In Version 3.0, they seek funds for Federations to promote FPOs, banks, dairies

An SHG leader from Rajasthan wants to set up a mahila bank on behalf of the Federation she is representing, while another representative from Andhra Pradesh aspires to set up a dairy and another from Kerala wants to promote an FPO (Farmer Producer Organisation).

As they enter the key milestone of 30 years of establishing linkages with banks next year, women self-help groups (SHGs) in the country seek a bigger role for SHG Federations.

Beating Covid fears, about 300 hundred women, representing SHG Federations of different States, have met here for two days early this week to device a Vision for SHGs by the year 2030.

“We see it a 3.0 version of SHGs in the country as they complete 30 years of establishing linkages with banks,” CS Reddy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mahila Abhivruddhi Society (formerly known as APMAS), told BusinessLine .

From a humble beginning three decades ago, the SHG movement has caught the imagination of crores of women in the country.

Over one crore SHGs are organised themselves into five lakh Federations at the village, block and district level.

The Federations, which command bargaining power on the aggregate strength of SHGs, are beset with several issues in accessing financial resources.

“The Federations must have proper registration and address the governance issues. They should also address the question accountability,” GR Chintala, Chairman of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), said.

The Mahila Abhivruddhi Society says of the five lakh Federations, at least 30,000 cluster level Federations should be considered for funding. “Of the 30,000 such Federations, at least 5,000-10,000 Federations are eligible upfront to get funds,” he said.

Aspirations

CS Reddy said that the Federations played a key role in helping SHGs that didn’t get the funds that they required. “Not all of the one crore SHGs get funding. The Federations, if funded well, can assist those that don’t get access to funds,” he said.

“In the 3.0 version, they are looking to set up small banks, dairies, primary processing centres and to promote FPOs. They can even talk to corporates for facilitating insurance and agricultural inputs,” he said.

“If there are about 5,000 SHG members in a village Federation, about 1,000 can set up an FPO,” he said.

Citing a Nabard estimation, he said the aggregate saving and lending base of SHGs was just ₹2 lakh crore as against an estimated potential of ₹20 lakh crore.

Published on December 04, 2021

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