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According to the Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh ” The central government has stepped up efforts to empower women through self-help groups in the country and is seeking to achieve a target of 70 million women in six million such groups.”

Ramesh said, “Today there are 30 million women in 2.5 million women’s self-help groups and we want the target that has been set to be achieved in seven years from now.”

Ramesh said the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) programme has set a target to include 70 million women in six million women’s self help groups (WSHG). Its success would solely depend on the linkages that the banks have with these groups.

Ramesh also said “Later this month, the union finance minister is meeting the chairmen of all the banks in the country and in it I am making a presentation to see that the linkages with the banks and these WSHGs are strengthened.”

Quoting figures, he said that 80 per cent of the Rs.15,000 crore that these banks have financed in the WSHGs are in the four south Indian states.

He also lauded the Kudumbasree – the poverty eradication movement of the Kerala government, and the work it has done here for the past 13 years.

“For the past four days, representatives of 15 states are in Kerala to know what the Kudumbasree Mission is doing here. It’s only in Kerala where there is convergence between the WSHG and the elected representatives of the village councils,” said Ramesh.

“In other states (of the country) this has not happened and through this meeting we wish to see how best we can have the convergence in other states too”

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