policy SBIs micro-credit policy has empowered self help groups to bring
institutional finance to the rural reaches of Bengal. The growth in
micro finance has been on the rise over the last few years. It has almost
been a win-win situation for both parties - the beneficiary in the rural
areas and bank. The former managing to steer clear of money lenders
and small finance companies and the latter happy to be able to show
a 100 percent recovery at the year end.
credit on the Sagar Islands, disbursed through the self help groups
preferably NGOs, to the rural borrowers, has been a thumping success.
These self help groups or SHGs comprise ten to twelve members, generally
women, who are below the poverty line. These women deposit Rs.15-20
per month depending on their financial capability for about six months.
Thereafter, they are entitled to a micro-loan, almost three times the
amount deposited in these last six months.
The loan is
then distributed to three members who need it most. Those women who
avail of the loan then repay it within the next six months. In about
two years' time all the members in the SHG are in a position to draw
For the flood-prone
area of Sundarbans, which has been in the constant throes of uncertainties
especially affecting the under-privileged, the system of micro credit
has worked wonders. The recipients of the loans have been mostly women
who have been able to tide over economic problems in a big way.
SBI has a cluster
of about six branches around Kakdwip, and this has been able to provide
great succcour to the people in the region. According to Shri T.G. Banerjee,
AGM, PR and Community services banking, about Rs.59.44 lakhs have
been disbursed to 595 SHGs as on February 28, 2001 in the Bengal circle.
This was about Rs.31.21 lakh disbursed the previous fiscal.
and agriculture have been extensively financed by the bank. Besides,
the success of SHGs has been phenomenal as they have stopped being lured
by small finance companies or money lenders who claim interest of Rs.10-15
a month", said Mr. Himangshu Ranjan Sur, Branch Manager, Kakdwip. On
a comparative scale, SBI lends to the NGOs at 11 per cent which is then
lent to the SHG at 16 percent.
Islam, Secretary of INSS, the NGO, said "This micro credit has helped
facilitate an integrated development in the entire region".
sector target is 15.4 lakh tonne
industry has got complete exemption from excise duty in the Union Budget
and has targeted a 15.4 lakh tonne production of processed fruits and
vegetables in the next fiscal. "In the wake of the tax concessions the
food processing industry has got, it has planned to take a slew of measures
including low cost packaging material, own retail channels, better technology
and trained manpower to achieve a capacity utilisation of 70 percent
in 2001-02", Executive Secretary, All India Food Processors Association,
Shri K.P. Sarin said. He said the blueprint had been prepared to increase
the annual processing to 15.4 lakh tonnes from the current nine lakh
tonnes which was only 40 percent of the industry's capacity of processing
22 lakh tonnes.