The self-help groups (SHGs) movement, which was launched in Tamil Nadu in 1989, is fuelling a socio-economic revolution among women in rural areas, according to C. Kamaraj, District Collector.
This was epitomised by the fact that women opened and operated a larger ratio of the bank accounts in rural areas compared to men. He was addressing a one-day seminar on ‘Lending to self-help groups' organised here on Tuesday in which bankers, non-governmental organisations and Block Development Officers took part.
In Madurai district, 14,420 women SHGs have been formed through 14 volunteer organisations, of which 834 exclusively comprise scheduled caste/scheduled tribe members. A total of 2.16 lakh women are members of various self-help groups.
The Collector also urged banks to give more credit for purchasing milch cattle and for establishing brick kiln as construction activity was set to pick up in the district.
R. Shankar Narayan, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), said that the recovery rates among lending SHGs was declining of late owing to multiple membership among borrowers.
B.R. Balasunder, Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, which is the Lead Bank for Madurai district, said that SHGs should utilise the emerging opportunities of becoming business facilitators/business correspondents for banks at remote villages. Banks are going to increasingly utilise BFs/BCs to fulfil the financial inclusion obligations mandated by the Central Government and Reserve bank of India. KN. Subramanian, Lead District Manager, said that every bank branch had to give at least two loans for economic activities of women SHGs. V. Pichai, Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, and Thangavelu, Project Officer of Mahalir Thittam, spoke.