Bihar has the potential to get about a million self-help groups (SHGs) engaged in real productive activities in the next few years, Bihar State Women Development Corporation (BSWDC) managing director N Vijaya Lakshmi said on Friday.
“The objective can be achieved if we go about it with a synergy between a state-level working group and an action plan,” she added. According to her, three agencies rural development department, Jeevika Project and BSWDC are engaged in SHG formation under their separate bookkeeping method, processes and action plan.
Lakshmi said the new approach would require one process, similar bookkeeping method and a common action plan so that the SHGs of the three agencies are able to work together in tandem with banks, which give loans to the SHGs to make their activities a massive social movement.
A two-day workshop that ended here on Friday discussed ways to prepare an approach and strategy paper. The participants included government representatives, NGOs, BSWDC and those associated with SHG success stories in Andhra Pradesh. Lakshmi was accompanied by CEO of Andhra Pradesh-based NGO APMAS C S Reddy and director, institutional finance, Bihar, B K Thakur.
At present, as the Nabard data showed, the state has 250,000 SHGs of which 92,008 SHGs had bank linkages. They have been provided with bank loans worth Rs 240.99 crore. However, if the desired target of 10 lakh SHGs was met, then the microloans worth Rs 10,000 crore and productive loans of Rs 1,000 crore would be made available to them for income enhancement of women and BPL families involved.
Reddy said even as Andhra Pradesh has offered models on productive activities, SHGs there suffered the same teething problems initially as is being faced in Bihar, so much so that banks are unwilling to open accounts even. He said Bihar had a huge potential, but scaling up of bank linkages and increased SHG activities would require a large force of trainers. Besides, there has to be a common training approach, common bookkeeping approach, and a common rating system, he added.
According to Reddy, field readings in Bihar have shown that only after an SHG member has taken up efficient productive activities through loans worth Rs 1 to 2 lakhs is she able to break the poverty trap.