District Collector, N. Mathivanan, on Friday said that daily village ‘sandhais’ to market the products of women self-help groups will be established soon at Tirumangalam, Madurai West and Kottampatti.

Outlining the efforts directed towards women SHGs, he said that around 12,120 groups had been formed in Madurai district since 1999 with a membership of around 1.57 lakh women.

Mr. Mathivanan was addressing a ‘Banker-NGO interface’ organised here for five southern districts by Indian Bank and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

He said that assistance under Revolving Funds had reached over 10,270 groups and loans to the tune of Rs. 41.08 crore under Economic Assistance scheme for income-generating activities had been given to 2,200 WSHGs. The Collector also distributed loans to the tune of Rs. 73.80 lakh to 17 SHGs.

Speaking earlier, M. Kathiresan, Deputy General Manager, Indian Bank, said that the first ever WSHG of Tamil Nadu in Dharmapuri district was given assistance in 1989 by Indian bank.

For the past three financial years, its Usilampatti branch had ranked first in Tamil Nadu in giving loans to SHGs. The branch had an outstanding of Rs. 18.26 crore to 1,888 WSHGs as of September.

He said that the Madurai Circle comprised 56 branches in the five districts of Madurai, Sivaganga, Ramnathapuram, Dindigul and Theni.

Of the total Rs. 930 crore in advances given till September, agriculture accounted for 44 per cent, WSHGs 8 per cent and education 11 per cent. Further, the bank’s ‘Microsate branch’ had given out Rs. 8.9 crore to 917 WSHGs since its establishment six months back.

The Indian Bank has also been providing Rs. 1 crore in educational loans annually for the past five years to the wards of SHG members.

R. Shankar Narayan, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, which is funding this annual meet for the last three years, said that this meet had resulted in tangible improvements in many issues. The present focus was making the individual SHG members as micro entrepreneurs, he added.

R. Srinivasan, Director, Rural Training Centre, Karaikudi, said Tamil Nadu accounted for nearly 10 per cent of the total SHGs in the country. “The SHGs have proved that the poor are also bankable,” he said.