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SHG -Empowerment A fighter against social Evil

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This paper focuses on SHGs and its impact on empowerment of its members. SHGs lead to empowerment of members in social economic and political spheres.
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Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 54 www.scholarshub.net
Introduction:
In India tradition, woman has occupied a prominent
position in the society. Even Manu said in
Manusmruti “Where the women are respected, the
divine grace adores that place, but where that is not so,
all other forms of worship are fruitless”. The United
Nation Organization has designated March 8th of
every year as „International Women Day‟. But still
there are large number of atrocities against women
particularly Indian women. There are large numbers
of awareness programmes about awareness of women
SELF HELP GROUPS AND EMPOWERMENT-
A FIGHTER AGAINST SOCIAL CAUSE
D. D. Kulkarni,
Assistant Professor of Commerce
Shri L. K. Khot College of Commerce,
Sankeshwar (Karnataka), India.
Dr. A. S. Shiralshetti,
Faculty Member & Research Guide
P. G. Dept. of Studies and Research in
Commerce, Karnatak University,
Dharwad (Karnataka), India.
ABSTRACT
Women constitute half of our population and play a vital role in the development of the family, the
community and the nation. It has been widely recognized that unless women’s potential is properly
developed, no transformation and economic development is possible. Therefore, to accelerate the
growth and prosperity of the nation, it is very important to create opportunities for socio-economic
development of women in rural India. In fact, since independence, it has been felt that women
experience poverty to a great extent than men do. The benefits of poverty eradication programmes
targeted towards the head of household have failed to trickle down and reached the women. Since
then, the Government of India has been emphasizing the need for designing separate development
programmes for women and to earmark a specific percentage for women beneficiaries in other rural
development programmes.
The access to credit for the poor from conventional banking is often constrained by lack of collateral
and high transaction costs associated with small borrower accounts. Hence, micro finance has
emerged as a viable alternative to reach the under privileged sections of the society for their social
and economic empowerment through financial intermediation. Micro finance involves provision of
thrift, credit and other financial services and products of very small accounts to the poor for enabling
them to raise their income levels and thereby improve living standards. In this regard, a number of
initiatives have been taken to augment the flow of bank credit to the micro enterprises in rural and
semi urban areas set up by vulnerable sections of society including women. Banks have been advised
to provide maximum support to SHGs.
The access to credit for the poor from conventional banking is often constrained by lack of collateral
and high transaction costs associated with small borrower accounts. Hence, micro finance has
emerged as a viable alternative to reach the under privileged sections of the society for their social
and economic empowerment through financial intermediation. In this regard, a number of initiatives
have been taken to augment the flow of bank credit to the micro enterprises in rural and semi urban
areas set up by vulnerable sections of society including women. Banks have been advised to provide
maximum support to SHGs. The present paper has focused on women empowerment through self-help
groups.
Keywords: SHGs, Empowerment, Micro finance.
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 55 www.scholarshub.net
rights in the Medias but still the condition is very
worse.
Women constitute half of our population and play a
vital role in the development of the family, the
community and the nation. It has been widely
recognized that unless women‟s potential is properly
developed, no transformation and economic
development is possible. Therefore, to accelerate the
growth and prosperity of the nation, it is very
important to create opportunities for socio-economic
development of women in rural India. In fact, since
independence, it has been felt that women experience
poverty to a great extent than men do. The benefits of
poverty eradication programmes targeted towards the
head of household have failed to trickle down and
reached the women. Since then, the Government of
India has been emphasizing the need for designing
separate development programmes for women and to
earmark a specific percentage for women beneficiaries
in other rural development programmes.
The Government of India‟s policy on women
development has undertaken various shifts of
emphasis since independence. The most significant
changes occurred in the mid-1980s with the Seventh
five year plan which started a move towards equality
and empowerment rather than development. This
included the evolution of Department of Women and
Child Development under the ministry of Human
Resource Development and its counter parts in the
states. Further, corporations were set up to implement
training, entrepreneurship development, credit,
technical consultancy services and marketing
facilities. The Eighth Five year plan marks a further
shift towards empowerment of women, emphasizing
women as equal partners in the development process.
The Government continued advocacy for sustained
equitable growth opportunities for women through
increased participation by women in local
governments, poverty alleviation programmes through
the elimination of discrimination against girl children
and reservation in education and job. Even the
government imposed punishment for foetus
recognition. It made to promote income generation
activities and thrift and credit through Self Help
Groups (herein after referred as SHGs) for women.
Empowerment of Women:
Empowerment is a social action process that promotes
participation of people, organization and communities
in gaining control over their lives in their community
and larger society. Empowerment in simple terms
means freedom or independence to women
economically, politically and socially. The various
initiatives of Government made women to come out of
four walls. The intension of Government is to make
empower women economically. This can be out
rightly predicted through the participation of female in
work force. The following table provides
participation of female work force rate in India.
Table 1- Rate of Female participation in India
Year
% of female workers
1901
31.7
1911
33.9
1921
32.89
1931
28.40
1951
23.30
1961
27.93
1971
14.22
1981
19.67
1991
22.26
2001
29.40
Source: Census Report 2001
Karnataka is the hub of Information Technology (IT).
It is growing like full moon in the field of foreign
investment especially in IT sector. The following
table provides the scenario of Karnataka.
Table 2- Female literacy rate and Work force
participation rate in Karnataka
Year
Literacy rate
Men
Women
Men
Women
2001
76.1
56.9
44.5
56.7
2011
82.5
68.1
(19)
45.6
59.0 (4)
Source: Prajavani Kannada daily dt 24th May 2013
Figures in table represents with percentages.
The table depicts that man folk is ahead to women
with respect to literacy rate. The increase of 19% of
female literacy rate of two census resulted into only
4% increase in work force.
Empowerment of women has emerged as an important
issue in India. Women play pivotal role in
development of nation. Women should be respected
both in the society and in the family. The status of
women can be increased by providing economic,
social, political and cultural freedom which leads to
empowerment. The Government has introduced
various schemes such as DWCRA, TRYSEM and
SGSY to empower women. Self-help Group is one
among them. It is meant for who are suffering from
poverty and cannot fulfil their needs. It is for poor
women and for marginalized women.
Self Help Groups (SHGs):
The access to credit for the poor from conventional
banking is often constrained by lack of collateral and
high transaction costs associated with small borrower
accounts. Hence, micro finance has emerged as a
viable alternative to reach the under privileged
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 56 www.scholarshub.net
sections of the society for their social and economic
empowerment through financial intermediation.
Micro finance involves provision of thrift, credit and
other financial services and products of very small
accounts to the poor for enabling them to raise their
income levels and thereby improve living standards.
In this regard, a number of initiatives have been taken
to augment the flow of bank credit to the micro
enterprises in rural and semi urban areas set up by
vulnerable sections of society including women.
Banks have been advised to provide maximum
support to SHGs. A SHG is voluntary association
may be registered or unregister entrepreneurs with a
homogeneous social and economic background,
voluntarily associated together to save small amounts
regularly and mutually agreeing to contribute to a
common fund to meet their emergency needs on
mutual help basis. The wisdom and peer pressure are
used by group members to ensure proper end-use and
timely repayment of credit. The peer pressure is the
recognized as an effective replacement for collaterals.
The transaction cost for both lender and borrowers can
be reduced by financing through SHGs. Since 1996,
as per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directions,
financing of SHGs is a part of priority sector lending.
Features of SHGs:
A voluntary association of the women, by the
women and for the women.
Homogeneous in nature in terms of occupation,
caste, class and marital status.
Based on the principle of equity, equality and
democracy.
A group for bringing out women development in a
holistic manner.
Having common desire to work as an action group.
A group for mobilizing other women to introduce
small savings and credit activities for self-reliance
and economic emancipation.
Significance of Study:
The access to credit for the poor from conventional
banking is often constrained by lack of collateral and
high transaction costs associated with small borrower
accounts. Hence, micro finance has emerged as a
viable alternative to reach the under privileged
sections of the society for their social and economic
empowerment through financial intermediation.
Micro finance involves provision of thrift, credit and
other financial services and products of very small
accounts to the poor for enabling them to raise their
income levels and thereby improve living standards.
In this regard, a number of initiatives have been taken
to augment the flow of bank credit to the micro
enterprises in rural and semi urban areas set up by
vulnerable sections of society including women.
Banks have been advised to provide maximum
support to SHGs. .
Objective of the study:
The objectives of study were:
To understand the socio-economic impact of SHGs
on group members.
To understand the problems of women SHG
members.
To understand the concept of SHG.
Review of Earlier Studies:
H.S.Shylendra (2008) in his article “Role of SHGs”
highlighted the challenges face by the SHGs in
effective poverty alleviation and empowerment. The
author conclude that major investment in capacity
building of SHGs and proactive policies to help
overcome the constraints faced by SHGs to integrate
them fully into the developmental programmes aimed
at women‟s empowerment.
P. Dinakara (2008) studied the performance of Micro
Finance Institution through the live case studies in
Hyderabad and Secunderabad. He expressed that
migration is relatively less in villages and women are
trustworthy to lend. The improvement of lifestyle of
women folk ignited the mend folk to work who were
lethargy and carefree. He elucidated that the
innocence women can better used by Micro Finance
Institution in their empowerment.
Virender Kumar & others (2008) in their research
paper entitled „Impact of Micro financing on
Employment Income and Empowerment‟ revealed
that the micro finance did make a significant impact
on income, employment and poverty of the member
households. They concluded that credit alone is not
enough to graduate rural households successfully from
„Survival activities‟ yielding moderate returns more
productive enterprise and realize larger „second round
impacts‟ on income, employment and poverty. The
structural constraints such as low skills and human
capital, lack of training and technical knowhow and
lack of market infrastructure have started emerging as
binding constraints that need to be addressed on
priority to make micro finance as an effective
instrument of creating and enhancing production skills
and securing appreciable and sustained increases in
income and employment.
Gladis Mary John (2008) in her research paper
„Women empowerment through SHG‟ concluded
Self-employment through SHGs have increased the
earning capacity and economic independence and
gave an important place in the decision making
process within the families. They got more courage to
go out and interact with others. The study on Jasmine
cultivators in Kerala revealed that more awareness
should be given to women about their role in family
and society by conducting meeting and training
programme.
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 57 www.scholarshub.net
Debotosh Sinha (2008) in his research paper „SHG-
Vehicle for Women Empowerment‟ revealed that the
vast majority of the women of SHGs have been able to
achieve consciousness about the function of local self-
government, politics, health awareness and child
healthcare based on empirical study. Further, it was
noticed that women are not only participating in
capacity building process but also utilizing their
acquired capabilities to improve their quality of life in
a holistic manner.
P. Balamithram & others (2009) in their research
paper „Women SHGs in the Upliftment of Tsunami
Victims‟ revealed that the formation of women SHGs
in Kanyakumari have brought positive transformation
among the Tsunami victims, Societal change can be
achieved only when the government backs the SHGs.
Yamuna & Kumar (2010) in their research paper
„Panchayat Raj Institutions as an Instrument for
Women Empowerment‟ stated the political
empowerment of women. The study carried on by
them in Haveri district showed that women‟s
empowerment depends upon the extent to which basic
infrastructure such as schools, public health,
anganwadies and water and sanitation are provided to
rural women. They concluded that Panchayat Raj
Institutions have played relatively positive role in
providing infrastructure, employment opportunities
and promoting SHGs. But income generating
schemes have not been implemented to the
satisfaction of the beneficiaries.
Somesh Yattin and L.D. Vaikunthe (2010) in their
research paper „Women Empowerment: Role of SHGs
and NGOs elucidated that the formation of SHGs by
the NGOs helps in the upliftment of weaker sections
of the society. The SHGs are predominantly consists
of SC, ST and OBC member who are economically
backward.
N.K.Shanmugam (2010) in his empirical study on
„Empowerment of Women through Women SHGs
carried on at Tamil Nadu revealed that forming SHGs
is beneficial to its members. Women will be
empowered economically, socially and politically.
The conclusion of the research was that WSHGs
affiliation with political parties is not welcomed.
R. Laxmi (2010) in her research paper „Influence of
SHGs schemes on Rural Women Empowerment‟
focused that SHG Bank linkage programme has made
enormous contribution to empowerment in rural areas
of Tamil Nadu though SHGs. The strong social ties
among the members, increased business loan per
member and lower SHG‟s expenditure will contribute
to the higher average income of the group members.
Komala & others (2010) in their paper „SHGs as an
Instrument for Women Empowerment highlighted that
the growth of SHGs in Mysore district have been
playing a vital role in the empowerment of women.
The increase in the number of SHGs implied that
women are aspiring for equality, self-confidence and
self-respect.
M.A. Lokhande (2010) in his empirical study on
„Women SHGs and Women Empowerment- A Cast
study of Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal at
Aurangabad district in Maharastra observed that
women members are empowered economically,
politically and socially by forming SHGs. Author
expressed that though women are politically
empowered but they are influenced by their
counterparts. He concluded that the SHGs can create
awareness of social evils among the mebers.
Shashikala & Uma H.R. (2011) in their empirical
study on „Women empowerment through SHGs‟ at
Hunsur taluk of Mysore district opined that the
potentialities of SHGs can be used against social
causes. Formation of SHGs not only brings a radical
change in an individual life but also in societal change
through the activities of SHGs.
Research Hypothesis:
Ho: Female Education pattern is dependent on age
group
H1: Female education pattern is not dependent on age
group.
Ho: Age group and joining to SHG are independent to
each other.
H1: Age group and joining to SHG are dependent to
teach other.
Methodology:
The study was conducted in the Undivided Dharwad
district Karnataka during 2011. It comes in Malnad
region. Gadadg a newly formed district comes in
tropical are and its climate is always dry. Haveri is
backward which another newly formed district in it is.
It is not so agriculturally developed because lack of
adequate irrigation facilities, low rainfall and therefore
employment opportunities for the women population
other the rainy season are very little. So the district
was purposively selected in the very spirit of the
study.
A sample of 250 members in SHGs was randomly
selected from three taluks in the undivided Dharwad
consisting Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri. Statistical
survey method of research was followed. The sample
size is decided at the convenience of the researcher as
the population size is larger. The data was collected
through a structured questionnaire. The researcher has
used the statistical tools such as percentages and chi
square test to the hypotheses. The data are processed
with the help of SPSS 17.0.
Limitations of the Study:
As the study was conducted in the vicinity of
Undivided Dharwad district, Karnataka, hence, the
findings cannot be generalized for other territories.
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 58 www.scholarshub.net
Due to the language barrier, some respondents were
hesitant to furnish the required information although
they were made comfortable by translating the
questions in their native language but this may have
resulted in a semantic barrier affecting the quality of
the research.
Respondents became extra cautious when they were
asked to provide their personal information in
relation to their occupation; income etc and they
may have provided misleading information
affecting the quality of the research.
As the designed questionnaire was lengthy, it has
affected the quality of the research but it was
inevitable for the researcher.
Data Analysis and Interpretation:
Sex
Frequency
Valid Percent
Male
5
2.0
Female
245
98.0
Total
250
100.0
The gender ratio of respondents: female respondents is
98% against male only 2%.
Age
Frequency
Valid Percent
Less than 20
19
7.6
21 - 30
124
49.6
31-40
73
29.2
above 40
34
13.6
Total
250
100.0
Age wise distribution of respondents ; 49.6% are 21-
30 years of age, 29.2% are from 31-40 year age group
above 40 years is 13.6% and Less than 20 age group
is 7.6%
Education
Frequency
Valid Percent
Illiterate
37
14.8
Primary
91
36.4
High school
80
32.0
College
42
16.8
Total
250
100.0
Education level of the respondents is; 68.4% are
learned Primary and High school, where only 16.8%
of them are education up to college and 14.8% of
respondents are illiterate.
Caste
Frequency
Valid Percent
SC
24
9.6
ST
30
12.0
OBC
116
46.4
GENERAL
80
32.0
Total
250
100.0
Marital status
Frequency
Valid Percent
Married
219
87.6
unmarried
28
11.2
Widow
3
1.2
Total
250
100.0
Family type
Frequency
Valid
Percent
Nuclear
192
76.8
Joint
family
58
23.2
Total
250
100
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 59 www.scholarshub.net
Family size
Frequency
1 to 4 members
170
5 to 8
54
9 and above
26
Total
250
Ho: Age group and joining to SHG are independent to
each other.
Ho : Female Education pattern is dependent on age group
Education * Age * sex Cross tabulation
Sex
Age
Total
Less than 20
21 30
31-40
above 40
Male
Education
Illiterate
0
0
1
1
Primary
0
1
0
1
High school
0
1
0
1
College
1
1
0
2
Total
1
3
1
5
Female
Education
Illiterate
0
7
17
12
36
Primary
3
45
28
14
90
High school
12
46
16
5
79
College
4
25
9
2
40
Total
19
123
70
33
245
Chi-Square Tests
Sex
Value
df
Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)
Female
Pearson Chi-Square
42.927b
9
.000
Likelihood Ratio
44.854
9
.000
Linear-by-Linear Association
31.795
1
.000
N of Valid Cases
245
b. 3 cells (18.8%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 2.79.
Hence Ho rejected
therefore H1 is accepted , i.e females Education and age group are mutually exclusive
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 60 www.scholarshub.net
Cross Tab
Sex
Joined SHG for
promotion of saving
Total
Yes
No
Male
Age
21 30
0
1
1
31-40
1
2
3
above 40
0
1
1
Total
1
4
5
Femal
e
Age
Less than 20
5
14
19
21 30
56
67
123
31-40
24
46
70
above 40
15
18
33
Total
100
145
245
Chi-Square Tests
Sex
Value
df
Asymp. Sig.
(2-sided)
Male
Pearson Chi-Square
.833a
2
.659
Likelihood Ratio
1.185
2
.553
Linear-by-Linear
Association
.000
1
1.000
N of Valid Cases
5
Female
Pearson Chi-Square
4.314b
3
.229
Likelihood Ratio
4.418
3
.220
Linear-by-Linear
Association
.039
1
.844
N of Valid Cases
245
a. 6 cells (100.0%) have expected count less than 5.
The minimum expected count is 20.
b. 0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. The
minimum expected count is 7.76.
Hence Ho is accepted and hence, it is inferred that age
and joining to SHG are independent to each other.
Meeting frequency
Frequency
Valid Percent
Weekly
160
64
Fortnightly
5
2
Monthly
85
34
Total
250
100
Loan amount sanctioned
Frequency
Percent
Less than Rs 1000
17
6.8
Rs 1001 to 3000
18
7.2
Rs 3001 to 5000
35
14
Above Rs 5000
180
72
Total
250
100
Findings:
The following are findings of the study
Majority of the respondents are women (98%).
SHGs are mainly concentrating the women folk.
Empowerment of women will be possible.
The sample consists of 49% of members in the age
group of 21- 30 years.
The level of education is primary which the highest
(36.4%).
Females‟ education and age group are mutually
exclusive.
Age group and joining to SHGs are independent to
each other.
Meeting the SHGs held weekly.
Large number of groups elects heir leader only by
voting.
Rotation of leader is made on yearly basis.
Recording of the proceedings of meetings is
common feature among the groups.
72% of the members have borrowed more than Rs
5,000.
Suggestions:
After a thorough study, the following suggestions are
made:
Members are advised to improve their education
level. People who have higher qualification can
motivate remaining members to improvise their
qualification.
Though the data proved that majority of the
members have borrowed money for productive
purpose, in actual practice it is used for household
emergencies and non productive activities.
Indian Journal of Commerce & Management Studies ISSN: 2240-0310 EISSN: 2229-5674
Volume V Issue 1, Jan. 2014 61 www.scholarshub.net
Banks have to specify a benchmark in sanctioning
loans to these SHGs instead of blindly following the
policies of Government.
Rotation of a leader should be made on quarterly so
that every member is enabled to acquire leadership
qualities. Whether the member is literate or not,
he/she should be encouraged and motivated to lead
the group.
Members have to concentrate on income generation
activities instead of only agriculture.
Members need training in order to undertake
entrepreneurial activities.
NGOs and GOs should be the part of this moment
then only there can be upliftment of the society.
Conclusion:
Women are considered as a great power of India.
They need platform to improve themselves. The
Government has to think in improvising formation of
SHGs through its own department and provide seed
money. Women are working on par with men.
Empowering women is a prerequisite for creating a
good nation, when women are empowered, society
with stability is assured. Empowerment of women is
essential as their thoughts and their value systems lead
to development of a good family, good society and
ultimately a good nation. If India to be the super
power of 2020, it has to give prime importance to
women which has neglected earlier. Nobel Laureate
Amartya Sen emphasized that unless women are
empowered, issued like health, literacy, and
population will remain unsolved problems of the
developing countries in this part of the subcontinent.
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******
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Women empowerment has become a catchword today and has got a significant place in socio-economic development programmes of the government. And why not? Women constitute half of the world population and contribute substantially to the all round development of the world. However, majority of them are the poorest, oppressed, underprivileged and discriminated. The World Bank in its report (2006) aptly observes that women are often denied property and inheritance rights. An inequality trap may prevent generations of women from getting educated; restrict their participation in labour market. Prof. Amartya Sen (1995) pointed out that the gender tolerance of gender inequality is closely related to notions of legitimacy and correctness. In family behavior, inequalities between men and women are accepted as natural or appropriate. Sometimes the decisions relating to inequalities are taken and executed by the women themselves. In the new world order no country can march ahead without inclusion of women in development process. Naturally, it becomes imperative to enable women, particularly poor rural women for accepting the challenges and actively participate in development process. Women empowerment is a continuous process of enabling them to fight the forces that oppress them, provide them equal access to the resources and opportunities and control over the resources. Women empowerment (Kabeer, 1999) refers to the process by which those women who have been denied the ability to make strategic life choice for acquiring such ability. The World Bank Report (2001) defines women empowerment as the process of increasing the capacity of individual woman or groups of women to make choices and to transform choices into desired actions and outcomes. Central to this process are actions which both build individual and collective assets and improve the efficiency and fairness of the organizational and institutional which governs the use of these funds. Women Empowerment, in short, indicates a change from powerlessness to powerfulness, underprivileged to privileged and enabling women to have control over the resources i.e. social, economic, political, intellectual and cultural. A research study suggested eight criterions of women empowerment viz., occupational mobility, economic security, purchasing power, involvement in household decision making, freedom in the family etc. The Indian government has made concerted efforts for advancement of women in different spheres through five year plans and women welfare schemes. National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) aims at creating conducive environment for women development, equality in political, economic, social and cultural spheres, and elimination of all types of discrimination against women. Women empowerment can be actuated through rural development programmes, economic interventions and confidence building and awareness creating campaigns. The term women empowerment refers to a range of socio-economic activities which focus on strengthening the economic position of poor women, creating confidence among them and extending full support for their all round development. In recent years, women self help groups have emerged as an effective means of entrepreneurship development among women. Entrepreneurship has a strong potential for socio-economic empowerment of women. In the words of the former prime minister shri Atal Behari Bajpai “Group Savings & Group action can remove the curse of money lenders. Since the whole system is organised transparently, the thrift and savings can become informal banks for the Poor and of the Poor".
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