Kolkata holds handicrafts fair for rural self-help groups

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Kolkata, Aug 17 (ANI): Women belonging to self-help groups in West Bengal recently took part in the handicrafts fair, 'Dakshinapan Mela 2010', organised by the State's Panchayat and Rural Development Department in Kolkata.

Women from districts of South 24 Pargana, North 24 Pargana, Nadia, Jalpaiguri, Hooghly, Nadia, Howrah, Burdwan and Birbhum participated in the fair with their products.

"We belong to a self-help group and we have 20 women who save Rs. 20 every month and we deposit Rs. 400 in the banks, and for our business we take money from the bank and we make our products like jams, jellies, pickles, and we sell these," said Tapasi Bhar, an exhibitor.

Saswati Banerjee, the Joint Secretary of the Panchayat and Rural Development Department of West Bengal said that the department encourages self-help groups members to keep their savings in fixed-term deposits so that they can earn highest interest rates on them.

She also added that self-help groups movement in the State is gaining in momentum since the last three years, which has further increased their savings.

"Actually, social mobilisation is very good in West Bengal. We have been able to form large numbers of self-help groups. Around West Bengal so far we, have formed more than 900,000 groups, out of which 300,000 have been formed under the programme Swarnajayanti Grameen Swarojgar Yojna (SGSY)," said Banerjee.

West Bengal has the highest number of small savings accounts.

From the inception of the SGSY in 1999 in West Bengal, more than 300,000 self-help groups have collectively deposited around three billion rupees. (ANI)

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