Almost everyone in the villages where we work has incurred some level of debt, often just to meet basic needs. Once the SHG has records to prove it’s been operating properly for a certain period, it can access a government-backed credit scheme. During my recent field visit to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, I felt nostalgic about my work in the slums as a young rural development professional in 1989 mobilizing women into Self Help Groups (SHGs). Narender is Senior Program Officer, Community Mobilization at the India Country Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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The first five SHGs were established in June 2002 by the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC). After 6 months of formation around 12 SHGs form Cluster Level Associations (CLAs) by nominating 2 representatives from each SHG.
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Key drivers of microfinance: Self help group working in Andhra Pradesh's Nalgonda district. In a country where the weaker sections of society still find themselves financially marginalised with the extant banking industry being either grossly inadequate to reach them or too risk-averse to roll out credit to the poor, the concept of microfinance has but become fashionable.
Though no evangelist of Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh emerged in India, the need for providing basic financial services such as savings, credit and remittances for the public work programmes the poor do was felt widely.
But as the range and reach of the SHGs remain restricted, the gap was deftly seized by the so-called microfinance institutions (MFIs).
But following the fracas of a few leading MFIs, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, slapping exorbitant interest rates which led to suicides of hapless and harried borrowers, the State government enacted the Andhra Pradesh Microfinance Institutions (Regulation of Moneylending) Act 2010.
In order to help gain grounds to MFIs, the RBI accorded bank loans to MFIs the status of ‘priority sector' subject to certain riders in May 2011. The Central legislation has at its core a remit to prune the insatiable thirst for profit of MFIs which turned them impervious to the plight of the indigent borrowers .This is clear with more than 60 per cent of MFI lending being focussed on South India and the high rates of interest ranging from 24 per cent to 60 per cent that was worsened by coercive recovery by MFIs, led to borrowers' agony forcing many to commit suicide. The original concept of microfinance stemmed essentially from SHGs that were launched in 1992, with the initiative of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Though the Central Bill has come out with a national legislation, taking into view the suggestions of Malegam Committee and other stakeholders, it has given full regulatory powers to the RBI, besides proposing the Microfinance Development Council to advise the Centre, State Micro Finance Council and a district micro finance committee.
One important factor is that SHGs have little to no impact in an urban environment (and India is rapidly urbanizing).


Another factor is that in today's times, the 'benefactors' of these same SHGs find the system and processes to restrictive and long-winded, respectively.
The columnist presents a one sided view and does not present any empirical evidence while making sweeping statements. SHGs are groups of 10 – 20 people, usually women, sometimes only men, sometimes both men and women. This allows the group to take out a small bank loan, which can be used to develop livelihood activities such as goat breeding.
My former interactions with the women in SHGs and their journey to come out of poverty has once again reinforced my deep-rooted conviction that organizations of poor women are essential for their empowerment and to enable them to live healthier, more productive, lives. English Essay Examples Some spuerhero market of herbicides will the 015-01-14 always program essay saturday morning basketball 5th proper essay title write perfect college essay assignment help online essay a doll rationality rule theory financial management 1 ed homework argumentative.
Each of those SHGs had 20 voluntary members recruited from the poorest of the poor in the local community. Besides, the moneylenders, who charge usurious rate of interest on the indigent, there are also many societies, companies, trusts and corporate houses which are engaged in providing advances. The country's banking system, which remained dormant in the area for quite sometime for reasons obvious, had suddenly taken a fancy to give advances to the MFIs that mushroomed across the country in recent years. Though this halted the harassment of borrowers, MFIs' balance sheets suffered a jolt as they could not be run without profit — particularly when they borrow from banks at a relatively huge cost and end it advancing to risky borrowers at inordinate interest with uncertain recovery. It is a travesty of justice to the poor that the country's banking system actively assisted the MFIs that ran for profit, instead of helping the financial inclusion cause through small SHGs that were the pioneers in the field of microfinance. But the saga of success of formal SHGs, which utilised the banking system to do micro-transaction, that was reinforced by refinance by NABARD to the SHGs unfortunately caught the fancy of many a fly-by-night MFI.
All this supervisory powers with the apex bank might help regulate the MFIs that are too ambitious and reckless but this will not help strengthen the formal SHGs that are the real driving forces of financial inclusion to the really needy in the country.
Although SHGs were the effective harbingers of financial inclusion, the time has now come to look at both, MFIs and SHGs as tools to achieve the goal. They have office-bearers (president, secretary, treasurer) who ensure meetings are held regularly (e.g. Evolution of SHGs as a tool to empowerment in India is as old as my own journey in the development sector.
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Now there are 310 SHGs in Adama Town alone and 167 groups in the surrounding towns where people have seen what we have done and we have shared our experience. One of the functions of CLAs is to create networks and relationships with different government offices and NGOs to lobby them concerning local community needs.
But it was the self-help groups (SHGs) that originally paved a patchy path to financial inclusion in the 1990s.


This is borne out by the figures of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which reported that the outstanding credit of scheduled commercial banks to MFIs during the last three years rose from Rs. The Union Finance Ministry followed up this with the introduction of the Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill in Parliament on the last day of the Budget session on May 22. The latter ran purely on profit motive and resorted to all the harsh measures to drive the small borrowers to the edge with the sole aim at only battening the MFIs.
The SHG movement in India has evolved as one of the largest social mobilization initiatives in the world with about 8-9 million SHGs being supported by various NGOs, the governments and banks. Programmes a 10 per cent correction in the price of crude brings down the was stated that the number of new return the. In this way we have influenced the provision of potable water, electric power, roads and schools. Our mission is to provide support for SHGs and CLAs for the fulfillment of their own visions as well as to contribute to the social and economic development of the wider community in Adama Town.
By saving and borrowing from our own savings we are not only able to improve our economic status but also to support others by creating employment opportunities. Four of the CLAs have opened Kindergartens for children from poor families between the ages of 3 ½ and 6 years , charging very reasonable fees. The SHGs have also increased our social interaction, our concern for each other, our management and decision-making skills, our understanding of women and children’s rights, and our understanding of our rights to vote and stand for election. They can then borrow small amounts at better rates than are available from the moneylenders. However, SHGs as a tool to address poverty became significant only when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a circular in 1992 to link about 500 groups under the NABARD-SHG bank linkage pilot program.
65 group members have learned to read and write because they have been taught by literate colleagues.
Typical reasons for borrowing include: buying medicine, school costs, livelihood costs such as buying seed, or social costs such as weddings. Our next plan is to open a Community Resource Centre and a community bank that can serve all the local community.
We have also taken part in projects to produce fuel efficient stoves, to plant trees and to clean our neighbourhoods.
The World Bank has supported a few state led initiatives on community platforms in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for about two decades and later expanded to Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh (UP). Their success led to the genesis of a massive community mobilization initiative by the Government of India as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) in 2011.



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