Kudumbasree in a tight squeeze

Members rendered jobless, unable to repay loans; SHGs have no funds to issue fresh loans

The 41 lakh women members of the 2.25 lakh Kudumbasree self-help groups (SHGs) in the State are a harried lot. It is not the debilitating impact of demonetisation on the State’s economy or the significance of the crusade against black money at the national level that bothers them. Members of one of the strongest networks of indigent women have been unable to pay the thrift fund to the groups they belong to and repay the loans they have availed themselves of since the restrictions on currency exchange came into force.

The SHGs mainly comprise domestic helps, farm labourers, daily wage earners and those who eke out a living doing odd jobs. Almost all of them are impoverished and perennially in need of financial assistance too.

Each group has 10 to 20 members. Other than repaying the loans ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs.10,000 drawn for meeting exigencies, each member pays Rs.10 daily as thrift fund to the group. The average monthly collection of an SHG would range between Rs.3,000 and Rs.15,000.

Group members take loans to meet medical exigencies and also for education and other urgent needs. Daily wage labourers and farm workers have not had regular employment for the past one week. Their employees say they do not have to the money to pay wages. Since the SHGs are unable to remit their monthly collection in banks, money circulation has been impeded and the groups do not have sufficient funds to give fresh loans to other members. Requests for fresh loans, though for smaller amounts too are aplenty. None of the requests could be honoured as the transactions remain frozen for the past one week.

According to N. Jagajeevan, former programme officer of Kudumbasree, local self-government institutions, and Community Development Societies (CDS) of Kudumbasree should hold discussions with banks and demand exemption from curbs on loans given to SHGs. “Banks generally tend to avoid such sections, especially the women members of the SHGs. Onus is on the local bodies and the CDS to bring it to their notice and ensure unimpeded fund flow to ease the woes of the women who rely on the groups for their survival,” says Mr. Jagajeevan.

SHGs mainly comprise domestic helps, farm labourers, daily wage earners

Local bodies asked to seek exemption from curbs on loans given to SHGs

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 8:38:49 PM |

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