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AP: Move to strengthen SHGs with banking sector aid

V. Rishi Kumar

The Government has proposed to involve bankers effectively in skill development programmes to improve the socio-economic condition of the members of the self-help groups.

HYDERABAD, May 30

THE Andhra Pradesh Government, which has drawn up plans to cover 1.49 lakh self-help groups in 2002-2003 involving a total outlay of Rs 350 crore, is now focussing attention on strengthening them with new training modules with support from the banking sector.

Though Andhra Pradesh figures high in the list of States with regard to the self-help group initiatives and the Nabard linkage scheme, the average size of the loan amount is relatively less. Consequently, the Government decided recently to raise the loan amount.

While it is planned to increase the quantum for disbursal, the Government, through district administration, plans to lay emphasis on skill development and training programmes by sensitising local teams to start micro-enterprises. It has sanctioned Rs 5 crore for skill development and training programme for the year.

Following this development, the Government has proposed to involve bankers effectively in skill development programmes to improve the socio-economic condition of the members of the SHGs. Through various forums, banks have come forward to be associated with the SHG schemes.

Further, the Government has also decided that all defunct self-help groups be reviewed and efforts made to strengthen the existing groups by upgradation of `C' groups to `B' groups and `B' to `A' groups.

Now the information with regard to these SHGs is being computerised and various parameters are being monitored, aimed at increasing the income and savings of each member of the SHG. The Government has also undertaken a survey to assess the performance of the group aimed at capacity building.

While the SHGs have improved over a period, the missing link of poor marketing of products is being addressed by the Government. This is proposed to be taken up with the support of local network and private parties.

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