24,000 Bihar self help groups exist only on paper

State government initiates verification drive and revival of credible SHGs for implementing Centre's Ajeevika scheme

 
By Alok Gupta
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

A routine check run by the Bihar government to verify the status of women's self help groups (SHGs) has thrown the state officials into a tizzy. It was discovered that more than 24,000 SHGs are non-functional. These groups have a vital role in implementing various state and Central schemes in rural areas and are get funds for it.
 
In their preliminary report, various district authorities have reported that most SHGs are running on paper only. The state government has now directed all district administrations to verify the credibility of all SHGs and find out whether they are functioning at all.

In Darbhanga, nearly 8,204 SHGs were found to be non-existent. The district has the highest number of non-functional groups. Even in the state capital, Patna, as many as 280 such groups were found to be non-existent. 

Around 125,000 SHGs have been formed in the state in the past five years by various non-profit groups. There groups were given the vital task of implementing various welfare schemes in rural areas. The news of non-functional SHGs has compounded the government's problems. It needs nearly 1.03 million SHGs to implement the Ajeevika scheme. The scheme was launched by Union ministry of rural development last year to enhance income of rural poor through sustainable livelihood in the country. Aided in part through investment support by the World Bank, Ajeevika aims at creating efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor, enabling them to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancement and improved access to financial services.

The Bihar government is also running a rural poverty alleviation scheme with World Bank fund—Bihar Rural Livelihood Project (BRLP). The Ajeevika scheme is being implemented as a part of this project in Bihar.

Arvind Kumar, managing director of Jeevika, the agency that is implementing BRLPS in the state, pointed out that over a period a lot many SHGs have become non-functional. “We will get a clear picture of the health of SHGs within a fortnight,” he said.

The state is now taking steps to revive credible groups to implement the  Ajeevika scheme. Officials say district authorities are trying to trace the bank accounts and will complete a thorough check of office location of all SHGs in the coming months. A senior official said there is dire verify whether these SHGs were receiving grants or not.
There is a possibility that these non-existent SHGs might have  been dissolved after the completion of projects or tasks given to them, said Kumar.
 

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.