Monday, March 7, 2011

Self-Help Groups: Catalyst for Rural Technology transfer and Transformation


‘Self-Help Groups function as Catalyst for Rural Technology transfer and Transformation with “Integration, innovation and implementation’ said P.Chitra, Project Director, SEVAI, a Trichy based NGO. P.Chitra was addressing in a refreshers training in Sirugamani RTC conference hall on Friday, the 4th March, to a group of women those have undertaken prefabrication of Ferro cement house hold toilets components in SEVAI Rural Technology centre, Sirugamani. “Alleviating Rural Poverty through Innovative Technologies Transfer” has been designed in Rural Technology centre to link SHGs with innovative, environmentally-friendly technologies in order to increase their in-come and promote sustainable development. She also said RTC also trains SHG members in various disciplines such as vermi-composting, pedal pumps use, organic vegetable cultivation, cost effective construction technology water soil testing for crops, etc.
She further added “The  problem of poverty , unemployment , economic  inequality, illiteracy and gender disparity plague the Indian society ,even after half a century of development efforts initiated by Central and State governments. Therefore, in order to change the face of the socio-economic scenario, micro enterprises and Self-Help Groups played and are playing an important role in the self-employment generation and entrepreneurship by raising the level of income and standard of living of the people especially rural people and the weaker sections. In this context, one of the most important achieved aspects of rural entrepreneurism is the formation of Self-Help Groups. Forming SHG is a valuable investment in human capital through training and capacity building measures. In India, entrepreneurism has been recognized as an essential force of development in rural areas. Rural entrepreneurism has emerged as a strategy designed to improve the social and economic life of specific sect people- the rural poor. It mainly focuses on extending the benefits of development to the poorest among those who seek livelihood in the rural areas. It also aims at improving the standard and self-realization of the people living outside the urban areas.  Rural entrepreneurism is also integrating the low income segments with rest of the rural community by ensuring them a better participation in a more equitable share in the benefit of developments. Rural entrepreneurism not only speeds up economic growth, but also provides job and improve the quality of rural life towards self-sustenance. Rural entrepreneurism needs a very wide ranging and comprehensive set of activities, pertaining to all aspects of rural economy and covering rural people including skilled labours, landless labours, rural artisans, and so forth’.

She further said ‘Rural entrepreneurism should be based on: Available resources of the local area, The potential of self-reliance, The infrastructure necessity, The viable technology, The institutional support, Policies and programmes and so on to most, SHGs internal loan services means providing very poor families with very small loans to help them engage in productive activities or grows their tiny businesses. SHG is a registered or unregistered group of micro entrepreneurs having homogeneous social and economic background, voluntarily coming together to save small amount regularly, to contribute a common fund and to meet their emergency needs on mutual help basis. The group members use collective wisdom and peer pressure to ensure proper end use of fund and timely repayment thereof. They are informal groups where members come together towards collective action for common cause. The common need is meeting their emergent economic needs without being dependent on outside help. The main aim of SHG concept is to improve the economic development of women and create facilitating environment for their social transformation in the lift of gender discrimination in work and the household.SHG movement is to overcome exploitation, create confidence, economic self reliance of rural poor, particularly among women who are mostly invisible in the social structure. The group becomes the basis for action and change.
It also helps in building of relationship for mutual trust between the promoting organization and the rural poor through constant contact and genuine efforts. Credit needs of rural poor especially women are fulfilled totally through SHG. Even though the rural people put their entrepreneurial skills in all the rural development activities their economic status has not improved to the expected level. They have much potential but due to various reasons they don’t know how to convert their skills into reality. So, It is very important and vital to address these issues and for this an integrated approach of Governments (Central and State), Banks and NGOs is essential. Banks also play an important role. The institutional efficiency needs to be increased. Speeding up the delivery process is also very important. Easy access to credit, flexibility in the repayment schedule, conceptualization of new schemes for the poor should be considered. Role of NGOs, too, is equally important as they serve as the most important element to create awareness among the rural poor. NGOs should give wide publicity to rural banking and its linkage programmes at local level. NGOs must enable them to participate in the decision making process at the bottom level. Though there is variety of programmes to alleviate poverty and empower rural people, SHGs programmes have done well in the country. The emergence of small enterprises and its activities have made a considerable contribution in the socio-economic development of rural poor in the society’Chitra concluded.-Etram News service

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