Real-time transaction to be introduced for SHGs and their Federations

Abstract : The last two decades has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the number of Self Help groups (SHGs) and SHG federations in India. There were an estimated 1, 78,664 SHG federations in India1 during 2013-14. SHG federations emerged as important institutions to take over the functions formerly provided by SHG promoting organizations. Placed in a situation where small size of SHGs and their limited financial and human resourcesdid not allow it to deal with larger financial and non-financial, livelihood issues affecting their women members, SHG federations were to address this gap. It was to go beyond being mere financial intermediaries to also become livelihood promotion organizations. The paper argues that while SHG Federations have emerged as financial intermediaries, its role as livelihood support organizations is still a question mark. The study looks at the role of SHG federations as livelihood support organizations.
 ? This statement reflects the need to share leadership responsibilities by rotating leadership positions and allowing existing leaders to serve in different roles, such as advocating members’ demands to the bank, the federation, and other external institutions. ? Women’s empowerment is a process in which women challenge the existing norms and culture in efforts to promote their well being. ? One major advantage of the ‘Indian’ SHG approach to micro-finance is its reliance on the existing very large network of banks, which are already legally and institutionally able to mobilise deposits and make loans.
 ? Similarly in the case of health, social intermediary services such as on health awareness camps by IGA and APM on HIV, Pulse Polio, food and nutrition resulted in diagnosis of problems and addressing the same on a timely basis. ? Poverty has been a major issue in India since independence. A number of experiments were made during the last century to find solutions to poverty. ? It shall review the forwarded proposal by DDM with her / his comments and thus take decisions on lending issues.
 • Self Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations consisting of 10-20 members whose purpose is to enable members to reap economic benefits through mutual help, solidarity and joint responsibility. • We chose for our purposes to define SHGs as groups of women whose primary purpose is to save and then to take loans, initially from their own funds but eventually from a bank. • Many other SHG federations, either multipurpose or non-financial, are also recovering some of their operational costs through service fee.
 ? These were related to background information, outreach of the federation, financial performance of the federation, financial products, social services, livelihood services, funding status and nature of enterprises supported. ? It is more efficient if the lending norms are established after more local consultation with federated structure and the NGO (if any) and the NGOs made more accountable. ? The study revealed that membership in SHG federations had certain advantages than those without membership. The benefits were in relation to financial benefits, livelihood benefits, non-financial benefits and social empowering effects.

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