Modi lauds women’s Self-Help Groups for unprecedented services during the pandemic
New Delhi, August 13, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded women’s Self-Help Groups for their unprecedented services during the COVID pandemic and announced the release of capitalization support funds to the tune of Rs 1,625 crore to more than four lakh SHGs.
Participating in the "Atmanirbhar Narishakti Se Samvad" -- an interaction with women Self Help Group (SHG) members/community resource persons promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) on Thursday through video conferencing, he also released Rs 25 crore as seed money for 7,500 SHG members under the PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises) scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Rs 4.13 crore as funds to 75 FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) being promoted under the Mission.
He also released a compendium of success stories of women SHG members from all across the country, along with a handbook on the universalization of farm livelihoods.
Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Pashupati Kumar Paras, Ministers of State (MoS) for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Faggan Singh Kulaste, MoS Panchayati Raj Kapil Moreshwar Patil and MoS Food Processing Industry Prahlad Singh Patel were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister lauded the SHGs of for their services during the pandemic that included making masks and sanitisers and providing food to the needy, besides spreading awareness.
He described the fund allocation announced at the function as a step to increase the scope of entrepreneurship among women and for greater participation in the march towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
"The Self Help Groups and Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana have brought a new revolution in rural India. Women self-help groups have intensified their activities in the past 6-7 years," he said.
At present, 70 lakh SHGs are spread across the country, more than three times the figure in the past decades. At the time when his Government came to power, crores of women did not have a bank account, they were miles away from the banking system, he said.
The government started a massive campaign to open Jan Dhan accounts leading to more than 42 crore Jan Dhan accounts of which close to 55% of the accounts were of women. The bank accounts were opened to make it easy to take loans from banks.
"The amount of help the government has provided for women under the National Livelihood Mission was many times more than the previous government. An unsecured loan of about Rs 4 lakh crore has also been made available to self-help groups. In the last 7 years, self-help groups have also done a great job of repaying banks. There was a time when bank loans close to 9% became NPA. Now it has come down to 2-3 %. I laud the honesty of the women in the Self Help Groups," he said.
The Prime Minister announced that the limit for loans available to SHGs without guarantee had been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The condition of linking savings accounts with the loan account has also been scrapped. "With many such efforts, you will now be able to move forward with more enthusiasm in the campaign of self-reliance," he said.
The Prime Minister said that, on the eve of the start of 75 years of independence, It was time to set new goals and move forward with new energy. “The collective power of sisters now has to move forward with new strength. The government is constantly creating that environment and conditions from where all of you sisters can connect our villages with prosperity,” he added.
The Prime Minister said there were endless possibilities for women SHGs in the agriculture and agro-based industry. A special fund has been created so that these groups can also create agro-based facilities. All the members can take advantage of these facilities by fixing reasonable rates and can also rent out to others.
“Our farmers benefit from the new agricultural reforms, which were also creating limitless possibilities for self-help groups. The SHGs could directly purchase from the farmers and also undertake direct home delivery of products like pulses.
“Now there is no restriction on how much you can store. SHGs have the option to sell products directly from the farm or by setting up a food processing unit and sell with packaging. By collaborating with online companies, SHGs can easily ship their products to cities in great packaging,” he added.
The government was also encouraging toys made in India which was an opportunity for women in tribal areas to make and promote traditional products. SHGs could also play a role in such endeavours, he said.
Referring to the campaign against single-use plastic, Modi said the SHGs could play a dual role in such efforts. He urged the SHGs to raise awareness about single-use plastic and work for its alternatives. He also urged them to take full advantage of the online Government e-marketplace.
The womenfolk were being provided with facilities like a house, toilet, electricity, water and gas. The government was working with full sensitivity on education, health, nutrition, vaccination and other needs, Modi added.