Raghuvansh calls for national level SHG federation

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New Delhi, May 30 (UNI) Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today said the Self Help Groups (SHG) movement has attained momentum with 28 lakh SHGs in the country and called for the constitution of an all India level federation of the SHGs.

Saying that it is the concept of the SHGs that paved the way to eradicate poverty and became instrumental in the empowerment of rural women, the Minister said the need for such a forum had become imperative.

Addressing a national level workshop organised for the SHGs Federations here, he said organising the poor into the SHGs and federating them up to the national level has been identified as an important support activity of his Ministry.

The activities of the federations range from social mobilisation, articulation of common concerns, organising awareness campaigns, undertaking procurement operations, provision of the forward and backward linkages to the marketing activities.

Giving an account of the formation of the SHGs, Dr Singh said this help is now being provided under the Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY), a major self-employment scheme launched in April 1999 after restructuring and combining the IRDP with allied programmes, like TRYSEM, DWCRA, SITRA, GKY, MWS.

Designed as a holistic self-employment scheme, aimed at providing sustainable income to rural the below poverty line (BPL) families through income generating assets/economic activities, it aimed at bringing them out of poverty. It is a process-oriented scheme involving processes like organisation of the rural poor (BPL) into the SHGs through social mobilisation, capacity building and training, provision of revolving fund, making available credit and subsidy, technology, infrastructure and marketing.

As the provision of employment under the National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (NREGA) is limited up to 100 days only, it is the self-employment that can ensure income to rural folks round the year, Dr Singh said and stressed on easy financing of SHGs by the banks and other financial institutions in their endeavours.

He also reiterated on the proper training, skill development and appropriate placement of rural youth so that the problem of distress migration could be sorted out.

The minister called for concerted efforts by NABARD, CAPART, and the NGOs and PRIs in providing help to this movement and said a concept paper has been prepared for discussion in the workshop.

Minister of State in the Rural Development Ministry Suryakanta Patil cited the example of Bachat Gats in Maharashtra saying these gats have gone a long way in boosting the morale of women in rural Maharashtra.

Minister of State in the Rural Development Ministry Chandra Sekhar Sahu called for simple and effective financial help of the SHG members by the banks and said the success stories of the SHG movement are the actual pictures of the performance of the Ministry.

The work shop is being attended by all the State Secretaries in charge of the Rural Development Departments and Project Directors, District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs)/CEOs of Zilla Parishad/Project Officers of Self Employment Wing of DRDAs/NGOs involved in the promotion of SHG federation.


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