Recently, Prime Minister (PM) of India participated in ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’ and interacted with women Self Help Group (SHG) members promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
Atmanirbhar Narishakti Se Samvad
Highlights of the Conference:
- The PM lauded the Self-Help Groups of women for their unprecedented services during the Covid-19 period.
- For example, women’s unparalleled contribution in making masks and sanitizers and providing food to the needy and spreading awareness.
- The Prime Minister will release a collection of success stories of women SHG members from all across the nation, along with a handbook on the universalisation of farm livelihoods
- The PM released support funds to SHGs, for PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme and for Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
- The Prime Minister also released capitalization support funds to the tune of Rs. 1625 Crore to over 4 lakh SHGs. In addition, he released Rs. 25 crore as seed money for 7500 SHG members under the PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises) Scheme of Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Rs. 4.13 crore as funds to 75 FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) being promoted under the Mission.
- The PM also announced that now the limit for loans available to SHGs without guarantee has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh.
- In the pursuit of making the country free from single use plastic, SHGs can play an important role.
- SHGs can raise awareness about single use plastic and work for its alternative.
- In this context, SHGs can take full advantage of the online Government e-marketplace.
About Self Help Groups
- National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) defines Self-Help Groups as ‘a homogenous group of rural poor voluntarily formed to save whatever amount they can conveniently save out of their earnings and mutually agree to contribute and emergent credit needs’.
- A Self-Help Group is defined as a “self-governed, peer-controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose”.
- SHG is a mini voluntary agency for self-help at the micro level has been focused on the weaker section particularly women for their social defence. So basically, the concept of SHGs serves the principle “by the women, of the women and for the women”.
- It is informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions. They help to build Social Capital among the poor, especially women.
- SHGs promote small savings among their members. The savings are kept with the bank. This is the common fund in the name of the SHG. The SHG gives small loans to its members from its common fund
- SHG is an informal group and registration under any Societies Act, State cooperative Act or a partnership firm
Timeline of SHG
- The origin of SHGs in India can be traced back to the establishment of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1972.
- Even before, there were small efforts at self-organising. For example, in 1954, the Textile Labour Association (TLA) of Ahmedabad formed its women’s wing in order to train the women belonging to families of mill workers in skills such as sewing, knitting, etc.
- Ela Bhatt, who formed SEWA, organised poor and self-employed women workers such as weavers, potters, hawkers, and others in the unorganised sector, with the objective of enhancing their incomes.
- NABARD, in 1992, formed the SHG Bank Linkage Project, which is today the world’s largest microfinance project.
- From 1993 onwards, NABARD, along with the Reserve Bank of India, allowed SHGs to open savings bank accounts in banks.
- The Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana was introduced in 1999 by GOI with the intention of promoting self-employment in rural areas through formation and skilling of such groups. This evolved into the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in 2011.
Initiatives to Promote SHGs:
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
- PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme
- Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)
- Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana (AHVY)
- North East Rural Livelihood Project
- Scheme for promotion of Women SHGs (WSHGs) in backwards & LWE (Left Wing Extremism) districts of India.
Government Initiatives for Women Empowerment in Various Fields:
- Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry:
- Under the new farm laws, women self help groups have no restriction on how much they can store.
- Financial Inclusion:
- Jan Dhan Accounts: With more than 42 crore Jan Dhan accounts of which close to 55% of the accounts are of women.
- DAY-NRLM: It envisages universal social mobilization by inter alia organising one-woman members from each rural poor household into Self Help Groups (SHGs).
- Mahila Sabhas in Gram Panchayat
- In Education:
- Vigyan Jyoti Scheme
- GATI Scheme
- KIRAN Scheme
- In Entrepreneurship:
- Mahila e-haat
- Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP)
- Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP) Scheme
- New Labour Code
- The Prevention of Sexual Harassment At Workplace Act, 2013
- Other Initiatives:
- National Creche Scheme
- One Stop Centre Scheme
- Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG)’ across the country