Ramesh pushes cause of women SHGs

The government has proposed to bring down the interest rate on bank lendings to Self Help Groups at par with that on crop loans to farmers and set up a dedicated national bank for women SHG.

New Delhi: With an eye on promoting self-
employment among women, the government has proposed to bring down
the interest rate on bank lendings to Self Help Groups at par
with that on crop loans to farmers and set up a dedicated
national bank for women SHG.

The decision was announced on Monday by the new Rural
Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who said that he would
take up both the proposals with Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee.

Government hopes to more than double the number of
SHGs in the country during ten years of the National Rural
Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), which was described by Ramesh as
the "most important flagship programme in UPA II" and compared
with the UPA-I`s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA).

The Central government has already decided to set up a
"Women`s SHG`s Development Fund" with a corpus of Rs 500 crore
to empower women and promote their Self Help Groups (SHGs).
The measure was announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
during the presentation of the Union Budget for the current
financial year.

"We need a NABARD type of institution for SHG. We have
proposed a detailed paper for national bank for SHGs. We will
take up the matter with the Finance Minister," Ramesh said.

Currently crop loan is available to farmers for an
interest between 6 to 7 per cent, while the SHGs have to pay
12 per cent interest for loans.

The announcements came on a day when the ministry
signed a credit agreement worth Rs 4,600 crore with World Bank
for National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP).

The minister also announced change in the name of NRLM
to "Aajivika" for easy understanding of the scheme`s purposes
to common man.

PTI

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