New Delhi: Women from across the country came together on Friday at an event organized by the rural development ministry in New Delhi and swapped stories about how Self Help Groups (SHGs) had helped them gain access to government schemes and resources such as formal credit, leading to better livelihoods.
Around 3,500 women, part of self help groups from several states and Union territories, gathered at a hall in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan for the event “National consultation on transforming lives through livelihoods thrust and Strategy for Poverty Free Gram Panchayats”.
The event was organized under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana (DAY)—National Rural Livelihood Mission, a poverty alleviation program implemented by the rural development ministry with the support of state governments.
Addressing the gathering, L.C. Goyal, chairman of the India Trade Promotion Organization, spoke about the need for promoting effective convergence of all rural development and related programs at the village level.
Amarjeet Sinha, secretary, ministry of rural development, who inaugurated the consultation, said self help groups played a crucial role in the successful implementation of rural development programs.
23 women from states such as Bihar, Kerala and Chattisgarh among others spoke about their experiences with self help groups and how their lives were transformed.
Nearly all had moving stories of coming from impoverished backgrounds but with the help of SHGs their access to resources such as formal credit and government schemes such as MNREGA increased manifold, thereby leading to improvement in their socio-economic condition.
Apart from the talks by the women, the event also marked the inauguration of a 10 day Aajeevika Mela which is being organized to promote exhibition and sale of products produced by SHGs from different parts of the country. 500 stalls have been set up.
The DAY scheme has mobilized about 3.63 crore households into 31 lakh SHGs. Women from rural poor households are provided financial assistance in addition to facilitating access to bank loans for undertaking livelihoods activities.