Livelihood Diversification and Women Empowerment Through Self-Help Micro Credit Programme: Evidence from Jammu and Kashmir
In the paper an attempt has been made to analyze the process of livelihood diversification and women empowerment through women self-help groups (WSHGs) and micro credit and its impact under Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP), Hills-II, Jammu and Kashmir; to find out difficulties in operationalizing micro income generating activities (MIGAs) through WSHGs and micro credit; and to suggest policy recommendations to make the programme of micro enterprise development through WSHGs and micro credit a success. The study reveals that through creation of WSHGs, 250 beneficiaries have been trained, out of which 50 percent have taken up MIGAs on sustainable basis and started earning up to Rs. 500 per month in Ramnagar Sub-watershed. The scheme of inter-loaning has also been introduced and members of WSHGs gets loan up to Rs. 5000. Through opening of saving accounts in nationalized banks, monthly savings of WSHGs have increased up to Rs. 1000. All these have resulted in increased income and improved livelihoods of the beneficiaries. New WSHGs should be formed through which new high potential MIGAs needs to be promoted. The system of revolving fund/mutual fund groups should also be promoted. The extent of beneficiaries’ willingness to contribute towards the cost of any MIGA is a ‘litmus test’ of their interest and commitment. Efforts should be made to evolve cost-sharing mechanism to ensure sustainability. The members of the WSHGs should be imparted training related to technical, financial, and marketing aspects, for which reputed local NGOs should be roped in. Exposure visits and training programmes should also be organized on regular interval to give WSHGs the opportunities to learn and express themselves in public and to improve their self-confidence.
Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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