Bankers, DRDA authorities interact with self-help group members
KAMAVARAPUKOTA (WEST GODAVARI DISTRICT): Former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s tempting offer of ‘Pavala Vaddike SHG runalu’ failed to help Geraka Nagamani, a poor SHG member from Kondagudem under Kamavarapukota mandal in West Godavari district who took a loan of Rs. 5,000 from ‘Spandana’, a micro finance institute (MFI) with a higher rate of interest. “When my son, Gangadhara Rao, suffered multiple fractures in an auto accident, I was forced to obtain the loan from MFI after my attempts to secure financial help from my SHG named, Pratibha Group, proved to be of no avail,” she said during an interface between SHG members and bankers and DRDA authorities here on Thursday.
Her plight brought to the fore the renewed threat held out by MFIs in rural parts of the district, bringing the so-called spirit of SHG movement under question and negating the efforts by the district administration to wean away the vulnerable SHG members from the fold of MFIs in collaboration with bankers.
Lead District Manager R. Shankara Rao and Ramana, Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) , who took part in the interface were greeted with a passionate plea by Gnaneswari, a member from Ramsai SHG group from Kamavarapukota village to save SHG women from MFIs.
Of the total 70 SHGs in Kamavarapukota village, members from as many as 50 groups are approaching MFIs for credit needs at higher rate of interest, as high as 36 per cent, according to Ms. Gnaneswari.
She observed that the SHG women were forced to fall back on MFIs for credit because of the banks’ inability to meet their credit needs.
The LDM, however, pointed out that it was because of failure by the SHGs to utilize their corpus for lending from within the group members so that they did not need to approach MFIs to meet their emergency needs.
The whole district with a little over 60,000 groups are said to be reflecting a similar picture.
The lending activities of MFIs came to light in the district when some of their borrowers committed suicide under pressure and their volunteers were thrashed by angry women.