To empower women under the National Rural Livelihood Mission, there is a need to link women's self help groups (WSHGs) to banks, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said. Ramesh, who was in Mumbai to attend an event 'Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Forum' organised by the state government, said the objective of the mission shall not be limited to forming SHGs under the mission but it is necessary to link these groups to banks to enable the poor women to get easy loans and start their businesses. According to the mission, the government plans to increase the number of women's self help groups to 6 million from the current 2.5 million and members to 70 million from 30 million, in the next five years.
He said in FY13, bank lendings to SHG was to the tune of over Rs 20,000 crore, out of which Rs 12,000 crore was disbursed in Andhra Pradesh, Rs 2000 crore in Tamil Nadu, Rs 1600 crore in Karnataka and Rs 1000 crore in Kerala.
"Nearly 80 per cent of the amount was disbursed in the southern part of the country. I want other states too to take advantage of the schemes and empower the women," he said.
Ramesh also said that Maharashtra needs to take steps to link more villages and SHGs to gram panchayats.
He also said the state should follow the model of Bihar to eradicate the practice of open defecation.
"The state should work towards eradicating the practice and ensure that this target is achieved in the next five years," he said.