India File

A successful Dalit SHG model

| Updated on January 28, 2020

The majority of Dalit community members who have taken over grazing land grow jowar, bajra, soya, tur, cotton and cereals. In the event of a good monsoon and availability of water, some cultivate wheat. However, their cultivation is not registered in the government’s records.

Most of them take their produce to the local market and for the cotton, they depend on traders. They cannot dig a borewell or well on their farms as they have no electricity to pump water.As no money comes from institutional credit systems, they depend on private moneylenders and self-help groups to cultivate. The network of women self-help groups has strengthened the movement as women have joined hands to help each other. About 600 self-help groups are active and women contribute ₹100 or ₹200 every month.

“The Land Rights Movement has formed the Savitribai Phule Mutual Benefit Trust, which works in the form of a federation. Recently, the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation allocated ₹3 crore to the Federation. Cultivators get loans up to ₹50,000 with nominal interest,” says prominent activist Vishwanath Todkar. He adds that many women have used the money for goat rearing for supportive income as farming is at the mercy of the monsoon. The Federation, formed in 2003, has an annual turnover of ₹50-60 lakh.

Published on January 28, 2020

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