self help groups in Karnataka
The economy of Karnataka is essentially an agrarian and rural economy. It accounts for 56 per cent of workforce of the State. In addition it supports other economic activities such as industry, transport, trade and commerce, etc. The rural economy supplies food articles and home-made products to non-farm sector. The agriculture in Karnataka has many problems like low productivity, existence of unemployment and under employment, lack of storage and marketing facilities, insufficient credit, and transport amenities. Further, the pace of agriculture, rural and urban development is very much dependent on marketing of the produce of different products of rural and urban people.
the history of SHG promotion started with NGOs taking the lead in the mid-1980 and passing on to NABARD by the end of 1980s. After the SHG– Bank Linkage Programme was launched in 1991-92; the very first loans to SHGs in the country were given in Kolar district of Karnataka by the Vysya bank, Bangarpet branch to Venkateshwara Mahila Sangha of Muduguli on December 9th, 1991 and by Corporation bank, Andersonpet branch to Saraswathi Mahila Sangha of Boduguriki on January 30, 1992.
NABARD up-scaled the programme in Karnataka by initiating a series of measures that included training of NGO and bank staff, convening a regular meetings of all intervening agencies, analyzing reports and providing feedback for changes in operational systems to make them more user-friendly, and launching the first RRB (Regional Rural Bank), the Cauvery Grameena Bank of Mysore district, as an SHGs promoting institution (1994-95)10. In the 1990s, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with World Bank collaboration and in partnership with the Government of India along six State Governments, including Karnataka, launched a similar programme titled Swashakti. This skill and knowledge encouraged Karnataka to launch a statewide programme called Stree Shakthi (Women’s power) based on the SHG strategy. Together, the initiatives of various stakeholders, (the government, NGOs, Banks) and others increased SHG coverage in Karnataka significantly. At recent estimates, 40,295 Anganwadi workers (Department of Women and Child Development), 561 NGOs, 8 Regional Rural Banks, 20 District Central CoOperative Banks and many Commercial Banks are engaged in SHG promotion. Together they are estimated to have facilitated the creation nearly to 1, 95,000 SHGs in Karnataka.
Most of the Self-Help promoting institutions (SHPIs) in India have come in existence due to the drive to help the underprivileged people of society. Their key objective is to help small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers, poor artisans, women and people drawn from the scheduled castes and tribes of the rural areas. Moreover, the goals of SHPI are to provide various financial services, empower people socially and support them in accessing various government programmes and incentives. In order to solve the economic and social problems of the poor and particularly women in the villages, SHPIs have chosen to support micro-finance programme as a major instrument of empowerment and alleviation of poverty. The basic hypothesis is that microfinance programme was to form SHGs and link the groups to the banks by which they would provide a vital development mechanism for improving the standards of living of rural women. Overall such micro-finance programmes are expected to contribute in an increase income, consumption and production activities of the SHG members and facilitate their access to adequate and sustainable financial services. Moreover, they open a window for the banking sector to expand their credit outreach by providing financial services to a large section of the rural population. Today, there are no villages in Karnataka without SHGs. The state government is the single largest SHG promoting institutions. In many government programmes, SHGs promotion is included and accounted to empower the women.
Stree Shakti in Karnataka
This programme was launched during 2000-01 and it is being implemented throughout the state to empower rural women and to make them Self-reliant. Stree Shakti groups are formed at village level to cultivate the habit of savings among the members for empowering the women economically. About 15 to 20 women members who are from below poverty line families, landless agricultural laborers, SC/ST women joining together. Stree shakti formed through anganawadi workers and taluk federations. At present, there are 1.40 lakhs groups functioning in the state. Approximately 20.00 lakhs women members are organized.
Income Generating Activities of SHGs
One of the most important factors affecting the sustainability of a micro enterprise would be the identification of right product ideas. We have to develop a framework for identifying products which could be produced by micro enterprises promoted by SHGs. Micro enterprises face several constraints such as the inability to invest heavily and low skill sets available. The framework addresses the issues of profitability, marketability and pricing. The framework explores issues such as space for a new entrant in the market place, the level of consumption, competition in the market, entry and exit barriers, brand loyalty, willingness to switch over to products of micro enterprises, possibility of niche marketing and alternate channels of marketing, presence of substitute products, possible geographical reach, presence of other competing SHGs, possibility of marketing along with other products etc. There is need for ensuring the quality in production. By their basic nature, production under micro enterprises could be happening in different homes and ensuring uniformity and standards is a major problem. The work force has to be trained on the importance of quality standards and they have to be made aware that they are competing very often with organized players and only quality will ensure the very survival of the enterprise. There is a need to undertake detailed study of a) the market factors – competition, customer, b) the production factors – costs and quality and c) profitability, one can safely arrive at a decision as to consider a product idea for a micro enterprise or not.
The following income generating activities have been under taken by the SHG members:
Vermi Compost: The use of chemical fertilizer is increasing day by day in order to get higher crop production from their fields. The excessive use of chemical fertilizer is badly affecting the social health, to arrest this situation we are emphasizing to use organic manures such as compost, vermi compost, farm yard manures and green manure etc. Buffalo Rearing: Dairy development is a very good source of family income next to Agriculture; we are promoting this activity among SHG members.
Goatry: It is said that goat is a poor men’s cow, the land less and marginalized farmers are rearing goats.
Piggery: Pig rearing is very good income generating activity, but people of all caste are not adopting this activity.
Poultry: We are motivating the group members to take up this activity of least at a smaller scale.
Agarbathi making: Agarbathi making is also a source of income to many women. Soap powder, Candle making, Wire bags, Tailoring is also the income generating activities of SHG members. Petty Business: The petty business shops are getting momentum in Karnataka.
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