Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Giriraj Singh today said that he is exploring the idea of creating a Women SHG (Self Help Group) Bank to fund the innovative ideas and products of Didis to financially empower them.
Speaking as Chief Guest at the SARAS AAJEEVIKA MELA-2023 in Noida, UP, the first Aajeevika fair in the new year, Shri Giriraj Singh said that there are over 9 crore Women SHG members, viz 9 crore households, and if each of Didi will save Rs 100 per month, the bank will succeed with staggering amount with even higher deposits by most of the Didis (Women SHG Members).
Shri Giriraj Singh said, time has come to give a full play to “Vocal for Local” Mantra of PM Modi and appealed to all present in the Mela and to all citizens of the country to buy products from women artisans and enjoy the delicious, ethnic cuisines in food stalls of SHG members.
More than 350 Women SHG Members have put up 180 Stalls from 27 States. Moreover, there are 23 shops by SHG members in the India Food Court with the participation of over 100 sakhis.
Shri Giriraj Singh said the target of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have 10 Crore SHG members by 2024 will be achieved as the Ministry is working on a proactive mode to enroll new women Sakhis (members).
Shri Giriraj Singh said, in May, 2014 when Modi took charge, there were 2.35 Crore SHG members, but with a focused approach to empower rural poor women in the last 9 years, the number of SHG members has swelled to more than 9 Crore and will touch 10 crore members by 2024.
Shri Giriraj Singh informed that the cumulative loan to SHGs was about Rs 80.000 crore before 2014 and now the bank linkage has crossed over 6.25 lakh crore in the last 9 years, with an NPA of just 2.08%. He said, efforts are on bring the NPA to less than one percent.
Shri Giriraj Singh said each woman beneficiary must save at least one lakh rupees per annum through sale of local products, which is the vision of Prime Minister. He also expressed confidence that within few years he will be able to achieve the target of 10 lakh Lakhpati Didis and added that the day is not far away when some of the lakhpati Didis will become Crorepati Didis.
Referring to Atmanirbhar pitch of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Singh said, today the best products of SHGs are also being exported to different countries and there is a need for more and more awareness campaign both locally and globally about their niche products through e-commerce platforms and other avenues.
The Rural Development Minister informed that NRLM has been undertaking several efforts in supporting businesses run by rural SHG women that are engaged in producing food products, handicrafts and hand-loom etc. As part of the efforts to connect producers to markets, NRLM and SRLMs have taken steps to promote curated products from SHGs and SHG member entrepreneurs through multiple channels such as Saras Gallery, State specific retail outlets, e-Commerce platforms like GeM, Flipkart, Amazon.
Shri Giriraj Singh said, two days ago, MoRD signed an MoU with Meesho, an e-commerce platform from Bengaluru, to expand the marketing options of Women SHGs.
In his address, Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste said the Ministry of Rural Development will take steps to establish Saras stalls by women SHGs in all State capitals, major cities and metros, airports and railway stations for widening the reach of marketing. He said more and more people will be exposed to ethnic and homemade handicrafts, paintings, toys, food and other items. The Minister said each woman beneficiary must save at least one lakh rupees per annum through sale of local products.
Referring to Atmanirbhar pitch of PM Modi, Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said the best products of SHGs are also being exported in different countries and there is a need for more and more awareness campaign, both locally and globally, about their niche products through ecommerce platforms and other avenues. She also suggested that efforts must be made to identify the challenges with the existing products, their packaging and branding.
Shri Shailesh Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development said that SHGs have presence in 97% of Blocks, while 85% of them are directly connected with the network of the Ministry. He also advised the SHGs and craftsmen to understand consumer’s demand to improve the products. He said, the exploration of marketing platforms is nothing but an effort to handhold the SHG Didis to gain access to markets, both national and international.
Additional Secretary-RL Shri Charanjit Singh and Joint Secretary Ms Neeta Kejriwal also graced the function along with other officials.