Monday, December 19, 2016

Riddle of SHG Movement

Why SHG movement failed in *North-East India but successful in Kerala ? Kerala and North East are both quite high in literacy rate and women dominated society.  Even recently Tripura has become the most literate state in the country overtaking Kerala. This question was asked by a government officer in Ganjam district where I was deputed in my stint at Odisha Livelihood Mission.  The argument seems valid but I had three reasons for the failure now.

1. These are matrilineal societies, not matriarchal ones. Matriarchy is not just about descent and inheritance being traced through the female line. The matriarchal system means a system where women have power in “all activities relating to allocation, exchange and production, as well as socio-cultural and political power." When descent and inheritance are traced through women it’s called a matrilineal system. Matrilineality is only a sub-system of matriarchy and the power in the social power structure remain in the hands of male only. Traditionally, it was communities like the Nairs, Ezhavas and Warriers in Kerala & it’s the the Khasi, Jaintias and Garo tribes (majority of the population of Meghalaya) who practice or used to practice this system. For more about women in North East, please read Status of Women: North Eastern Region of India versus India by Dr Ira Das

2. Population Density is the biggest difference between them. Kerala is home to 2.76% of India's population; with a density of 859 persons per square km, its land is nearly three times as densely settled as the Indian national average of 370 persons per square km. [Reference] This is the major reason as sparse population in the hilly region create a high operational cost and challenges in the last mile connectivity in North-east India.

3. Lack of penetration of financial services is the major reason behind failure of SHG drive. There are only 2.3 per cent of total account in Northeast India.while the maximum no of 27.44 per cent of total account in South India. Read more Financial Inclusion in India:A Brief Focus on Northeast India. Stronger presence of MFIs in the Assam and Tripura helped reduce the disparity but there is a long way to go.

4. In a region ravaged by conflict, business as usual is no longer an option. The political risk due to constant terrorist and insurgent activities with AFSPA have also led as a major hindrance for investment in infrastructure. There has been chaotic process of creating a peaceful state, an economy and a workable political settlement from the violent, corrupt, and poverty-ridden area shows the development process in all of its historical reality.

The picture with inclusion in the development emerges is of increasingly nuanced collaborations and partnerships: business-state, business-society, and between formal and informal business. The promise of financial inclusion in India has been for long time but has never materialised.The Reserve Bank of India is navigating the path to financial inclusion by means of regulations and guidance. RGVN (North East) Microfinance Limited, the only micro-finance company from the region to be selected by the RBI to set up a small bank. The development of financial services will also be a source of growth in North East in the future.

*The Northeast India comprises of contiguous eight states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim - is geographically, ethnically and culturally different from the rest of the country.

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !


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