State government to bring Self Help Groups under insurance coverage
The state co-operation department is all set to bring Self Help Groups under insurance coverage to ensure their financial security in case there is any untoward incident.
Arup Roy, the state co-operation minister said that the move had been taken after it was noticed that the Self Help Groups were doing well after the change of guard in the state. Different steps were taken on the inspiration of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to promote the work of the Self Help Groups in Bengal.
Interestingly, 95 per cent of the loan which was given to the Self Help Groups has been recovered in the last financial year. “The recovery rate is unbelievable. This comes at the time when a section of big traders didn’t repay their loans on time,” said an official of the state co-operation department adding that in such a scenario the Self Help Groups have cleared a major amount of their loans. Only 5 per cent of the loan given to the Self Help Groups is yet to be recovered and it happens because some Self Help Groups had to pass through such a difficult phase for reasons like extreme climatic conditions.
There are around 1.95 lakh Self Help Groups registered with the state co-operation department and all the groups engaged in production of different articles starting from pickles to handicrafts will be brought under the insurance coverage. If everything goes as planned, the task of the bringing them under the security coverage will be done in the current fiscal.
“Members of the Self Help Groups won’t be in trouble in case there is any untoward incident with the introduction of the insurance coverage scheme as they would be getting financial back-up for the loss they would incur due to any such incidents,” the official said.
With the Chief Minister’s initiative to introduce Biswa Bangla brand to promote the goods manufactured by the small scale enterprises and Self Help Groups in the state, the business of the groups have sustained growth in the past five years. Unlike the erstwhile Left Front government that had just set up some stalls in government offices and complexes to promote the produce of the Self Help Groups, Mamata Banerjee government had taken major steps for promotion of the same not only in the local market but in other states and abroad.
The state co-operation department had given loan to 1.60 lakh out of the 1.95 lakh Self Help Groups. Around 50 lakh people from 15 lakh families were benefitted with the disbursement of the loan to so many Self Help Groups at the same time.
“The capacity of a trader for timely clearance of loan shows his or her will to grow further and their economic viability of the project that he or she has undertaken. Thus the repayment of 95 per cent of the loan amount by the Self Help Groups shows that they have started becoming self dependent with the support of the state government. At such a juncture when their business is growing, the insurance coverage will be a good boost for them to increase their business,” the official said.