GOVERNMENT OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH
Rural areas in India confront the issues of poverty, health, gender disparity etc and Arunachal Pradesh is not an exception. In this regard, a strong group effort is needed, and SHGs can play a pivotal role in uplifting the rural areas in Arunachal Pradesh.
SHGs stand for Self Help Groups. The name itself makes it conspicuous that it is a group formed by individuals to help each other.
The basic concept of SHGs lies in ‘unity is strength’ i.e. group effort can address the problems better than the individual. In other words, Self-Help Group is a small voluntary association of poor people, preferably from the same socio-economic back drop. The micro-credit given to them makes them enterprising; it can be all women’s group, all men’s group or even a mixed group. However, it has been the experience that women’s groups perform better in all the important activities of SHGs (Anuppalle, R. Reddy ‘Self-Help Groups In India – A Catalyst For Women Economic Empowerment And Poverty Eradication’33RD). SHGs in some parts of India like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc have miraculous achievements in addressing various societal problems.
SHGs in Arunachal; Challenges and Prospects
By Koyem Ratan and Nyatum Doke
ArSRLM in News
ARUNACHAL STATE RURAL
Arunachal being one of the strategically important and a relatively backward state needs SHG revolution. There are around 4500 SHGs and the savings amount of Self Help Groups with banks in Arunachal Pradesh was Rs 256 lakhs as on 31 March, 2015. It accounted for 1.97 percent of the total savings amount of SHGs with banks in North Eastern Region (data.gov).
But, the first ever SHG meet-cum-mela held at Central Rekho, Cheta Village, Roing gives a contradicting picture as it was revealed that the SHGs are active, enthusiastic and have lots of potentialities in the beginning, but it slowly dies down as it progresses and ultimately many SHGs become defunct. It may be due to lack of systematic follow up from the government departments/ agencies/ NGOs or due to lack of consistency among the group members.
In absence of proper knowledge, both on the part of the people and the authorities they remain dormant- restricting themselves to small lending and borrowings amongst members. So, SHGs in Arunachal are still in a nascent stage. As Jairam Ramesh writes in a letter to Arunachal CM, ‘although demand for credit in the rural is quite high in Arunachal Pradesh the performance under bank linkage has an ample scope for improvement’ (Jairam Ramesh to Nabum Tuki, D.O. No. J-11060/34/2013-RL).
Also there are underlying problem like issues of Geographical and topographical difficulties which creates spacio-temporal hardship. In addition to these is the mentality of making quick money and the skeptical attitude because of the improper implementation of the earlier programmes related to SHGs. Also, the typical definition of ‘Poor and Poverty’ becomes a misnomer in the society where everyone has a considerable landholding with abundant natural resources.
However, delving deep, we find that there is a great scope for SHG led development as Arunachal Pradesh has a societal system of which ‘self help’ is the basis. Despite the influence of globalisation, the existence of social solidarity is pertinently visible always in various social occasions. Also, in comparison to other parts of the country, gender bias is less in Arunachal Pradesh- women are relatively empowered and self sufficient. Most importantly, Arunachal is endowed with immense natural resources and beauty which can provide various alternative livelihood opportunities that can be taken up by the SHGs.
The idea of CS Reddy (CEO, APMAS) is pertinent that the women’s self help movement may be used as an important strategy for achieving financial inclusion, which will contribute to inclusive growth and generating social capital in order to address larger issues like poverty eradication and women empowerment
As Saikia Bedabrat and Partho Patwari (in ‘Self Help Group Movement in Arunachal Pradesh) observed that “in Arunachal’s economy, newly grown up institution, namely Self Help Group (SHG) has proved as credible institution for financial inclusion and novel solution for channeling the credit to the rural masses”. In addition, SHG federation can also act as an alternative channel for service delivery of government programs by promoting leadership qualities among their members.
In order to bring change we must bring in substantial inputs of a kind that the rural poor want but cannot get. For this, it is important to find out what they do know and have. It is only then that schemes can be devised that can give right inputs in right quantities. Lastly but not the least, proper endeavour must me made toward ‘convergence’ of National Rural Livelihood Mission with different line departments so that the process may become a holistic one.
(The writers are working as CC, NRLM &PMRDF and District Nodal Officer, Livelihood respectively)