Women Welfare Programme for Self Help Group (SHGs) and Mahila Mandal


Women Welfare Programme for Self Help Group (SHGs) and Mahila Mandal, Arunachal Pradesh

Under the Scheme Directorate endeavors to create awareness amongst the women beneficiaries about several programmes of the State Government and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Women & Child Development aiming at the Welfare of the Women. The Women Groups are sent to the different portion of the Country to inculcate awareness amongst them about the implementation of several women welfare and empowerment Scheme so that they are fully conversant with activities carried out by the Self Help Group (SHGs) and Mahila Mandal to maintain their Cultural Heritage and Economic Upliftment, National Integration, etc. They are taken to historical, cultural and economically developed places in the country for their awareness so that thereafter the women would implement the programmes of socio-economic development at their respective places effectively and efficiently. In the last financial year provision of Rs. 1.50 lakhs was made in AOP.

The major concept of SHGs lies in ‘unity is strength’ i.e. group effort can address the problems better than the individual. In other words, “Self-Help Group is a small voluntary association of poor people preferably from the same socio-economic backdrop. The micro-credit given to them makes them enterprising; it can be all women group, all-men group or even a mixed group. However, it has been the experience that women’s groups perform better in all the important activities of SHGs (Anuppalle, R. Reddy ‘Self-Help Groups In India – A Catalyst For Women Economic Empowerment And Poverty Eradication’33RD). SHGs in some parts of India like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc has miraculous achievements in addressing the various societal problems.

Arunachal is one of the strategically mandatory and a relatively backward state needs SHG revolution. There are around 4500 SHGs the Savings Amount of Self Help Groups (SHGs) with banks in Arunachal Pradesh was Rs. 256 lakhs as on 31-03-2015. It accounted for 1.97% of the total Savings Amount of SHGs with banks in the North Eastern Region (data.gov).

But, the first ever SHG meet-cum-Mela held at Central Rekho, Cheta Village, Roing gives a contradicting picture as it was revealed from their sharing that the SHGs are active, enthusiastic and have lots of potentialities in the beginning but it slowly dies down as it progress and ultimately many SHGs become defunct. It was may be due to lack of systematic follow up from the Govt Departments/Agencies/ NGOs or due to lack of consistency among the group members.

In non-presence of the proper knowledge, both in part of the people and the authorities they are remaining dormant- restricting themselves to small lending and borrowings amongst members. So, SHGs in Arunachal are still in a nascent stage. As Jairam Ramesh compose in a letter to Arunachal CM, ‘although demand for credit in the rural is quite high in Arunachal Pradesh the performance under bank linkage has an ample scope for improvement’ (Jairam Ramesh to NabumTuki, D.O. No. J-11060/34/2013-RL).

Also, there is the underlying problem like matters of Geographical and topographical difficulties which creates the spaciotemporal hardship. In addition to these is the mentality of creating quick money and the skeptical attitude because of the improper implementation of the earlier programmes concerned to SHGs. Also, the typical definition of ‘Poor and Poverty’ becomes a misnomer in the society where everyone has a considerable landholding with abundant natural resources.

However, delving deep, we find that there is a high scope for SHG led development- Arunachal Pradesh has a societal system of which ‘self-help’ is the basis. Despite the influence of globalization, the existence of Social Solidarity is pertinently visible always on several social occasions. Also, in comparison to the other parts of the country Gender biases is less in Arunachal Pradesh- Women are relatively empowered and self-sufficient. Most necessarily, Arunachal is endowed with immense natural resources and beauty which can provide several alternative livelihood opportunities that can be taken up by the SHGs.

The idea of CS Reddy(CEO, APMAS) is pertinent that the women’s self-help movement may be used as a necessary strategy for achieving financial inclusion, which will contribute to inclusive growth, and generating social capital in order to address larger issues like poverty eradication and women empowerment.

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