Ms. Sonali Ponshe, Vice Chairman and MD, MAVIM
Mr. Yatesh Yadav, CEO, Centre for Microfinance (Rajasthan)
Ms. Sonia Bedi, DST Pune
Ms. Gitanjali Satapathy, Secretary, Kalighat Society for Development Facilitation (KSDF)
Moderator - Ms. Veena Padia, CEO, Indian School of Microfinance for Women
Rajan Babu (NRLM) - Gives a summary of the SHG II program and how cluster organizations are being utilized to make the program more effective.
Sonali Ponshe (MAVIM) - Tejaswini program is being implemented in Maharashtra. With respect to NRLM, savings is the first topic to discuss. A mentality that is there is that the money belongs to government when loans are given out. In NRLM, now there are still group savings but this is a demand driven process. BPL lists are also no longer used to identify the poor. Convergence is a primary aim of NRLM. But every department has its own schemes and deadlines. Leadership given to the local people is what produces the best results.
Gitanjali Sampathy (KSDF) - Sundarban is where we started, where it was all SGSY, not SHGs. Ministry of textiles gave us an artisan development program. We took that and did a baseline study. From personal experience, government schemes always have the objective of improving the well being of poor women. But in SGSY they used to get a subsidy for loans so they were eager to give it out. But there was absolutely no monitoring on the utilization of loans.
Secondly, artisan development in SHGs is something else we did. In that we observed how to do development of local artisans. My experience , practically, is that any SHG capacity building fund should target an activity and the market for selling these goods should be there. Business plans have to be made to see how much volume is needed to cover a market. If these business plans are made and implemented only then can it be successful. We have enough money from govt. schemes but market research is what really needs to be done.
Yatesh Yadav (Centre for Microfinance in Rajasthan) - I must add that plans are very well made but in NRLM the main issue SHGs are having are – SHG quality and cluster quality and implementation is not as well conducted in the rural areas as the plans are made in Delhi by the people planning these large scale government programs.