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SELF HELP GROUP: A tool for empowering the Poor People

SELF  HELP GROUP: A tool for empowering the Poor People

ing group action is a challenge before administrators, policy planners and development professionals. Realization ones' of potentials is very essential for initiation of individual activism similarly realization of group potential, resources, skills and various other factors are biggest challenge for development. About 20 per cent of Indian population covered under Below Poverty Line (BPL) (about 32 crore) and their credit needs are small but frequent. At the times of emergencies, there are no formal credit institutions to come forward to support these sections of the society; hence they are forced to rely on moneylenders and landlords at exorbitant interest rates. At this Juncture Self Help Groups (SHG's) proved to be the way out and trustworthy credit supplier.

In our country, credit is being provided to the rural poor by a multitude of financial institutions like 'Commercial banks, Regional Rural banks, Cooperative' etc. Still, about 28% of rural poor depend on Money lenders, Traders and other informal credit institutions for their credit needs. The major complaint against formal credit institutions is the denial of required credit demanded by rural poor. In fact the rural poor are mostly illiterate and ignorant of Bank's systems and procedures of lending. They are scared of the cumbersome lending norms.

SELF HELP GROUP is a concept emerged in the direction of helping rural poor forming groups so that, they will improve their living conditions through voluntary participation in thrift and credit. The core objective is FLEXIBILITY, TRANSPRARENCY AND AUTONOMY with SENSITIVENESS AND RESPONSIVENESS of the participants.

In 1976, Prof. Mohamed Yunus of Bangladesh experimented the concept with success. In India, some NGOs (Non Government Organizations) introduced the scheme during 1987-88; NAQBARD took up the scheme on pilot project basis during 1991-92 and later extended it to all states in the country. State Bank of India started providing financial assistance to SHGs since 1996-97. At present the scheme is in operation throughout the country.

In this context Prof. Md. Yunus of Bangladesh work as God Father to provide financial assistance to scared rural poor by organizing them in a unit. This unit is called Self Help Group and finance is called micro finance. For this big achievement Mr. Yunus and Bangladesh rural bank had been awarded by noble prize. Hence, there is a good scope to work with rural people for both as a service and as a business opportunity.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.