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Ministry of Rural Development Takes Bold Stride Towards Empowering Women through SHG Bank Linkage & Financial Inclusion

The collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Rural Development, RRBs, Co-operative Banks, and other stakeholders underscore a shared commitment to realizing the vision of financial inclusion and empowerment for women in rural India.

Shivam Dwivedi
Ministry of Rural Development Takes Bold Stride Towards Empowering Women through SHG Bank Linkage & Financial Inclusion (Photo Source: PIB)
Ministry of Rural Development Takes Bold Stride Towards Empowering Women through SHG Bank Linkage & Financial Inclusion (Photo Source: PIB)

In a significant step towards financial inclusion and empowerment of women in rural areas, Charanjit Singh, the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development, chaired a crucial meeting in New Delhi yesterday. The meeting brought together the Chairpersons of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Managing Directors of State Co-operative Banks to deliberate on the progress and future strategies for Self Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage. Charanjit Singh emphasized the pivotal role that RRBs and Co-operative Banks play in transforming rural societies by empowering women.

Charanjit Singh stressed the need for Branch Managers to immerse themselves in the ground reality by visiting villages and spending a night to assess the challenges and opportunities firsthand.

Rural Empowerment: Leveraging Micro Enterprises for Financial Inclusion

The Chairman of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) highlighted the potential of financing micro-enterprises owned by SHG women members. The vision is to turn these women into ‘Lakhpati Didis’ by providing financial support through RRBs and co-operative banks. The focus of discussions centered around the financing of individual women SHG members and exploring avenues for their economic upliftment.

Progress in SHG Bank Linkages: A Success Story

The meeting included a comprehensive presentation on the progress of SHG Bank Linkages made by Regional Rural Banks and Co-operative banks. The discussion revolved around various parameters, showcasing the creditworthiness of women from rural areas. Remarkably, the Non-Performing Assets (NPA) of Regional Rural Banks have been reduced to a commendable 1.43%, the lowest in the banking industry.

Empowering 10 Crore Women Through SHGs

The success of the SHG Bank Linkage scheme was evident as around 10 crore women from rural households have been enrolled under 96 lakhs Self Help Groups. These women have availed credit amounting to Rs. 8.03 lakh crores from banks since the inception of the scheme. The meeting also recognized and awarded the good-performing banks, acknowledging their significant contribution to the success of the initiative.

The meeting witnessed the presence of high-ranking officials, including the Chairman of NABARD, Chief General Managers from State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, and senior officials from the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Additionally, representatives from State Rural Livelihoods Missions and Ministry of Rural Development officials and experts actively participated in the discussions.

The progress showcased in the meeting serves as a testament to the positive impact of SHG Bank Linkages on rural communities and the broader goal of inclusive development.

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