The District Collector, N. Mathivanan, on Tuesday said that nationalised banks were at the forefront in providing credit to self-help groups.

Banks have a vital role to play in developing villages and rural areas in the country, he said, adding that after the nationalisation of banks was undertaken, many rural braches were opened.

The Collector was delivering the inaugural addressing of a Skill Development Programme for SHG members organised in Madurai by the Canara Bank’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) cell for Women.

“Women’s development will contribute towards the growth of family and society. The SHGs movement has created a massive revolution,” he said.

Since the scheme was created, the bank’s Madurai Circle, which covered eight districts, had formed 38,200 SHGs with linkages to 37,600 SHGs having a credit deployment of Rs. 274 crore, Mr. Mathivanan pointed out.

While the Reserve Bank of India had mandated that 5 per cent of credit advances should be for women, Madurai Circle had achieved 16 per cent. Advances to agriculture stood at 44 per cent, which was way over the stipulated 18 per cent, he added.

Nationwide as on March, the Bank had lent Rs. 12,147 crore to over 10 lakh women, which amounted to 8.9 per cent.

Speaking earlier, K.P. Pai, Assistant General Manager of Madurai Circle, said that the CED conducted training programme in computer and career assistance to empower women.

While four skill development and seven awareness programmes that catered to 2,475 women beneficiaries were held last year, six skill development and eight awareness programmes would be conducted this year to train 3,000 women, he said.

M. Thangavel, Project Officer, Mahalir Thittam, B.R. Balasunder, Deputy General Manager of Madurai Circle, R. Shankar Narayan, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and Lead District Manager KN. Subramanian spoke.

Representatives from 60 women SHGs in the city took part in the training programme. They were given technical training in pot painting, agarbathi making and preparation of simple chemicals.