Madhya Pradesh implements effective initiative of self-help groups

A revolutionary initiative has been taken in Madhya Pradesh to promote small savings and home made items by women in rural areas. The process of helping rural women has started on a large scale to strengthen rural women financially through self-help groups. Where rural women are nurturing their skills and establishing a permanent source of their income, they are also getting rid of the debt trap of huge interest which they had to pay moneylenders.

Self-help groups get a digital platform

Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that taking a big step towards Atmanirbhar Madhya Pradesh, an effective action plan has been implemented for women empowerment in the state. This year, the assistance limit given to women self-help groups through banks has been increased from Rs 300 crore to Rs 2100 crore. Along with this, it has also been decided that the bank’s rate of interest will not exceed more than four percent. The state government will pay the interest on this. Through the self-help groups, the activities of the groups and their products are being made available to the rural women to make them self-reliant. The products of the groups have been linked to the digital platform through self-help portal for marketing.

The arrangements made by the state government to provide bank loans to women self-help groups at the lowest interest rate with incentives, is proving to be life-saver for protecting poor families residing in rural areas from the trap of loans given by moneylenders on interest. Due to financial support, the group members have stopped mortgaging their land and ornaments with moneylenders and also got their lands freed by repaying the old debts. There are many such examples in several districts. Particularly in Alirajpur, Shahdol and Harda districts, mortgaged lands have been freed on a large scale.

In Udaygarh block of Alirajpur district, 85 members of 32 villages and 59 self-help groups freed 189 acres of mortgaged land for Rs 31 lakh 72 thousand. Similarly, Smt. Geeta Lodhi of Jamui village under Sohagpur development block of Shahdol district has got her mortgaged land freed with the help of the group. The land of a member of Jai Durge Aajeevika Self-Help Group was freed in village Chhirpura of Timarni development block of Harda district. The number of families moving rapidly towards self-reliance by freeing their land and ornaments from mortgage is increasing.

More than 37 lakh 70 thousand poor rural families have been connected with over 3 lakh 30 thousand self-help groups in the state through Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission under Panchayat and Rural Development Department. So far, 2 lakh 92 thousand self-help groups have been provided financial assistance in the form of bank loans of about Rs 2900 crore. More than a hundred different kinds of livelihood activities and micro-enterprises based on both agriculture and non-agriculture are being operated with this amount. The state government has been providing benefits to the beneficiaries through virtual programmes regularly even during lockdown and Janata curfew to strengthen the economic condition of rural families during the Corona period. About 12 lakh 23 thousand families have been connected with agriculture and animal husbandry based livelihood activities in the state through Livelihood Mission. Of these, about 5 lakh 2 thousand women are engaged in commercial vegetable production, 1 lakh 72 thousand in advanced agriculture and 1 lakh 55 thousand in dairy business. Similarly, about 4 lakh 62 thousand families have been connected through non-agriculture based livelihood activities. Out of these, about 61 thousand women group members are engaged in sewing work. About 12 thousand women have been associated with sanitary napkin manufacturing and re-packaging work, about 15 thousand in incense sticks manufacturing and about 14 thousand in bamboo production and about 12 thousand in handloom work. This has helped raise the standard of living of rural poor families and the deprived families are now moving towards prosperity.