BHUBANESWAR: The state government has a proposal to form at least 10 lakh more self help groups (SHGs) in the rural areas to empower women and help people earn a decent living.
Minister of state for Panchayati Raj and law Arun Kumar Sahu said that the state government has decided to bring at least one crore women under the SHGs during the next three years to improve the standard of living of rural families. “Our responsibility is to ensure dignity in everyone's life.
All rural households must be brought under SHGs on a war-footing," he said. The minister said that the SHGs will be provided bank loans at one percent interest rate. He also announced to provide financial assistance of Rs 15,000 crore to each of the SHGs and make arrangements for the sale of their products.
However, the reluctance of commercial banks to provide linkage to SHGs has come in the way of state government achieving the target in previous years. The state government had set an ambitious target to provide credit linkage worth Rs 1,000 crore to one lakh women SHGs in 2014-15. But Rs 570 crore loan was provided to the SHGs during the year.
Though a similar target for 2013-14 was set, the total credit disbursement by banks operating in the State was Rs 442.93 crore. The minister said that the state government has set a target to provide credit assistance of Rs 800 crore in 2015-16. Official sources said that about 38,000 SHGs were provided credit during the last financial year against 40,000 SHGs the previous fiscal. Seven public sector banks were involved in SHG linkage during the last fiscal. While performance of many public sector banks was far from satisfactory, they have sponsored sufficient number of applications to branches of different banks.
SHGs promoted under Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) and other livelihood programmes like Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTLP) and Integrated Water Management Programme (IWMP) will be covered under the credit linkage programme. The minister announced the decision to set up 10 lakh SHGs while inaugurating a sensitisation workshop on the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) here.
Sahu highlighted the promise of Panchayati Raj Department to make provision for infrastructure, basic services and improved livelihoods to create dent in rural poverty.