Andhra Pradesh has become a model for other States, says Chief Minister
For the first time in the country, a Bank Linkage Credit Plan for women Self-Help Groups (SHG) with projected loans to the tune of Rs. 9,127 crore to assist 3.60 lakh groups was launched here on Thursday by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Addressing the gathering, he said the compelling need for the State to chalk out such a plan providing an alternative source of financial assistance to the micro-finance institutions that came under a cloud in the State. He said Andhra Pradesh had become a model for other States to follow when it came to pioneering a programme meant to assist women members of SHGs.
The alternate measures primarily involved the setting up of an exclusive ‘Stree Shakti' Bank with a fund of Rs, 1,000 crore, Mr. Reddy pointed out. The steps also included constructing 1,467 buildings across every mandal and district headquarters and municipality in the State at an estimated cost of Rs. 360 crore.
Reddy Subramanyam, Principal Secretary-Rural Development, and B. Rajasekhar, CEO, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) - that is responsible for running the Indira Kranthi Patham, the rural poverty alleviation programme, outlined the details of the credit plan earlier and termed it a red-letter day. Women's empowerment in its entirety could only be achieved when they could boast of financial freedom, they said.
Mr. Rajasekhar said the government had adopted a different algorithm to determine eligibility of loans this fiscal. A group that availed a Rs. 50,000 loan was now expected to repay it in 12 months, Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh in 18 months and Rs. 1 to 3 lakhs in 36 months.
The Chief Minister praised SHG women for their levels of responsibility and skill sets that they possessed.