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Kolkata, Sep 29 (UNI) India Post has finalised to disburse micro-credit to Women Self Help Groups in eight states and the Northeastern region in association with the NABARD.

The states are Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

The scheme was so far operational in five districts in Tamil Nadu on a pilot project basis.

Post offices in Tamil Nadu have successfully disbursed credit to 165 women SHGs worth Rs 1.35 crore and no default had been noticed in the repayment, official sources said.

Around 2,900 groups had so far been formed for credit linkage with the post offices in the districts of Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Tiruvannamalai, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. About 2000 post offices in nine postal divisions are involved in this operation.

Post Masters have been specially trained in nurturing the SHGs and making inspections. Nine per cent simple interest is charged on the loans out of which India Post has a share of 3 per cent and the remaining 6 per cent goes to NABARD.

The scheme helps the postal department in cross selling its financial and insurance services to the members of the Self Help Groups, thus strengthening their financial&life security. It also underlines the continuing relevance of rural post offices and their closeness to the public.

The success of the scheme reinforces that among the rural people, the post office remains the preferred mode of financial service, a fact that has come out in successive surveys. Post offices in the country have already disbursed about Rs 2900 crore as wages to the beneficiaries of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

The total number of accounts opened for NREGS payments is about 1.5 crore. The number of post offices disbursing the wages across 21 states is over 70 thousand (including Head Post Offices, Sub Post Offices and Branch Post Offices).

Andhra Pradesh has the maximum number of over 94 lakh accounts.

UNI PC PL RN1552

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