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SHGs: ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme

GS Paper  2

 Syllabus: Social Justice/ Governance: SHG

 

Source: ET

Context: The Indian government is initiating the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme, aiming to provide skill development training to two crore women to encourage them to establish micro-enterprises through Self-Help Groups (SHGs)

 

About the Scheme: 

The ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme is an initiative to empower women in rural areas by encouraging them to start micro-enterprises and become economically self-sufficient.

 

Features:

  • Aim: The goal of the scheme is to create two crore women millionaires (“lakhpati didis“) in villages using SHGs
    • Fostering women-led development and promoting their active participation in the workforce and economic growth.
  • Providing skill development training to women through Self Help Groups (SHGs)
  • Enabling them to earn at least Rs 1 lakh annually
  • Skills covered: plumbing, LED bulb making, and operating and repairing drones, among others.

 

What are SHGs? 

SHGs, or self-help groups, are community-based organizations formed by a group of individuals, primarily women, who come together to address their common economic, social, or developmental needs. Women SHGs play a significant role in the Indian administrative ecosystem by empowering women, promoting socio-economic development, and contributing to grassroots governance.

  

How do Women’s self-help groups (SHG) complement government welfare schemes?

  • Partnership with Government Agencies: SHGs collaborate with government agencies at different levels, including the local, district, and state administrations.
  • Execution of Government Programs: SHGs serve as implementing units for various government programs, such as the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • Financial Inclusion and Microfinance: SHGs are linked to formal banking institutions via NABARD’s SHG-Bank Linking Program, and they play a crucial role in promoting financial inclusion by accessing credit, savings, and insurance services.
    • According to the NABARD, SHGs have saved over Rs. 30,000 crores collectively.
  • Last Mile Delivery: SHGs act as intermediaries between government agencies and the community, ensuring the last-mile delivery of services and programs.
    • According to a study by the NABARD, SHGs have played a significant role in poverty reduction in India, lifting millions of women out of poverty.
  • Grassroots Participation: SHGs provide a platform for women to actively participate in decision-making processes and contribute to local governance.
    • An example is the success of the Mission Shakti program in Odisha, where over 7 lakh women have been organized into SHGs, leading to their empowerment and active participation.
  • Capacity Building: They provide training, knowledge sharing, and awareness programs on various subjects such as financial management, entrepreneurship, health, and hygiene.

 

Case Study: Kudumbashree in Kerala (completed 25 years this year (2023))

  • Partnership with Government: Kudumbashree operates under the guidance and support of the State Poverty Eradication Mission, which works closely with various government departments, including the local self-government institutions.
  • Execution of Programs: Kudumbashree operates through neighbourhood groups (NHGs), which are small SHGs at the grassroots level. For example, Kudumbashree NHGs play a significant role in the implementation of the NRLM in Kerala
  • Financial Inclusion and Microfinance: Kudumbashree NHGs are linked to the banking sector through the formation of Community Development Societies (CDS).
  • Social Welfare and Development Initiatives: They are involved in activities like healthcare awareness campaigns, sanitation drives, educational programs, and skill training for women.
  • Grassroots Participation: Kudumbashree NHGs also collaborate with local self-government institutions to implement various development projects in their respective areas.

 Other notable case studies: Mission Shakti in Odisha, Swa-Shakti Project in Rajasthan, and Baba Jaleswar SHG.

  

Conclusion:

As per Economic Survey 2022-23, India boasts of some 12 million SHGs, of which 88 per cent are all-women-member ones. They are an integral part of the government’s efforts and its lower-tier governance set up to promote women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, and inclusive development.

 

Insta Links:

Role of SHGs in development of Rural India

 

Mains Links: 

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) empower women and make them self-reliant by inculcating the habit of savings and proper use of financial resources. Analyse. (250 Words)