Look beyond 'Gang of 4' to promote women SHGs: Jairam Ramesh to banks

Noting that a major chunk of bank lendings for women self help groups goes to four south Indian states, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said banks can help raise the number of such outfits in the north and east Indian states to promote social development there.

"80 per cent of bank lending for self help group goes today to the gang of four--Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Now we are facing huge challenge of increasing the self-help groups in northern and eastern parts of India," Ramesh said noting that banks in north and eastern Indian states are a laggard lot in extending credit to such initiatives.

Addressing a function "NABARD award for rural innovations 2012", the Minister said the Rural Development Ministry is working very closely with NABARD, an apex development bank with a mandate for facilitating credit flow for promotion and development of rural agriculture and village industries, for increasing the self-help groups in northern and eastern Indian states.

"I am hopeful that very soon the type of success we witness in south India will be visible in states like Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh," he said seeking the help of Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who was chief guest at the programme, to address the biggest constraint of SHGs' linkage with banks in these states.

Ramesh, who is also the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, also pitched for NABARD like agencies role to support the Government's mission to promote sanitation in rural areas.

"Innovation is needed in the area of sanitation. This is an area we need more attention. 60 percent of rural women lack toilet facilities," he said.

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