Special Correspondent

Isaac says the scheme has facilitated empowerment of women

Claims Janasree programme creates conflicting loyalties

Says Kudumbasree’s strength lay in its group dynamics

KOCHI: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has alleged that the United Democratic Front (UDF) is trying to torpedo the Kudumbasree scheme using the Janasree scheme.

Mr. Isaac told reporters here on Thursday that the Kudumbasree, which provided micro finance to women’s self-help groups and facilitated women’s empowerment, especially in the countryside, was a successful and popular government initiative. He said the next panchayat and municipal elections would be mainly fought on the issue of Kudumbasree.

He said the Kudumbasree, moulded by both the UDF and Left Democratic Front (LDF) governments, was a platform for convergence of rural development, women’s empowerment and micro finance with the active support of local self-government institutions. But now, the Janasree programme, launched by the UDF with a ‘political motive,’ was trying to upstage the Kudumbasree by offering a parallel line of credit that created conflicting loyalties.

He said the Kudumbasree’s strength lay in its group dynamics. Moral binding and peer pressure among the members of a Kudumbasree unit ensured effective utilisation of loans and prompt repayment.

Dual membership

The Janasree was destroying this by allowing dual membership that facilitated dual sources of borrowing.

Mr. Isaac wanted to know if Congress leader M.M. Hassan would agree not to give dual membership so that members would not borrow money from both the Kudumbasree and the Janasree at the same time. He asked UDF leaders to clarify if they still supported the Kudumbasree or shifted their loyalties to the Janasree. This would be a key issue in the next panchayat elections, he said.

He agreed that the micro enterprises under the Kudumbasree had failed but claimed that the situation could be set right by going in for product branding and better marketing strategies.

He said the Opposition charge that the law and order situation in the State had worsened was a ‘politically-motivated exaggeration.’