Que. 1. The Self-Help Group (SHG) Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP), which is India’s own innovation, has proved to be one of the most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programmes. Elucidate. (UPSC - 2015) [150 Words]
- Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions.
- It can be defined as self-governed, peer controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose.
A major effort to provide banking services to the weaker and unorganised sector was the Bank Self Help Group Linkage Programme that was launched in early 1990s on recommendation of SK Kalia committee .
The programme was started at the initiative of NABARD in 1992 to link the unorganised sector with the formal banking sector.
Under this programme, which is India’s own innovation banks were allowed to open savings accounts for Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
This programme has proved to be one of most effective poverty alleviation and women empowerment programme as :
- The SHG-Bank Linkage Model is the largest financial inclusion programme in the world clearly plays a central role in the lives of the poor. The Self Help Groups have proved the way for economic independence to women.
- The women have gone beyond the using the bank linkage financial assistance to meet immediate consumption and household needs and the SHGs have taken up income generating activities and focused on asset creation which gives them regular income over a period of time.
- This programme had empowered women SHGs to take up integrated farming to increase the family income in the district.
- The SHG-Bank linkage programme pioneered by NABARD has made access to credit easier and reduced the dependence on traditional money lenders and other non-institutional sources.
- SHGs borrow from banks once they have accumulated a base of their own capital and have established a track record of regular payments the bank extends it a loan which is known as credit linkage. SHGs are rated by banks every time they take a loan from the bank. Therefore, it calls for continuous best practices by SHGs for getting repeat dosage of credit.
- The rate of interest charged by the bank for a loan to SHG is the Prime Lending Rate (PLR) of the bank (the rate at which the bank lends to its best customers). This is one of the positive impacts of the programme in reducing the interest burden of the members and avoiding the exploitation of the poor by informal agencies, particularly money lenders, commission agents, etc.
- According to the statistics on recovery status by NABARD, banks have reported recovery of more than 80% of loans by SHGs.
Thus, SHG Bank Linkage programme of NABARD by providing financial inclusion, access to credit and enhanced decision making for women has played a vital role in poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
Que. 2. Define minorities. What are the socio cultural problems before them and what measures should be adopted to solve them? [200 Words]
Ans.: A minority group, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications.
In sociology, a minority group refers to a category of people who experience relative disadvantage as compared to members of a dominant social group.
Louis Wirth defined a minority group as "a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination".
Socio-Cultural problems of minorities :
1. Problem of Identity:
- Because of the differences in socio-cultural practices, history and backgrounds, minorities have to grapple with the issue of identity
- This give rise to the problem of adjustment with the majority community.
2. Problem of Security
3. Problem Relating to Equity
- Different identity and their small number relative to the rest of the society develop feeling of insecurity about their life, assets and well-being.
- This sense of insecurity may get accentuated at times when relations between the majority and the minority communities in a society are strained or not much cordial.
4. Problem of Communal Tensions and Riots
- The minority community in a society may remain deprived of the benefit of opportunities of development as a result of discrimination.
- Because of the difference in identity, the minority community develops the perception of the sense of inequity.
- Communal tensions and riots have been incessantly increasing since independence.
- Whenever the communal tensions and riots take place for whatever reason, minority interests get threatened
5. Lack of Representation in Civil Service and Politics
Steps taken to address these issues:
- the Constitution provides for equality and equal opportunities to all its citizens including the religious minorities
- the biggest minority community, that is, Muslims have a feeling among them that they are neglected
- However, such a feeling does not seem to exist among the other religious minority communities such as the Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, for they seem to be economically and educationally better than the majority community.
- The global governance network must recognizes that effort to promote and protect the rights of minorities must be multidimensional and engage the entire System.
- Discrimination is often at the root of identity-related tensions. Such tensions have a potential to develop into crises that could ultimately lead to conflict, forced displacement and, in the worst cases, to atrocity crimes, including genocide.
Hence, before these instances develops into a broken window syndrome, these must be allayed as early as possible.
Government Initiatives in this regard :
- Their Skills must be upgraded
- Their rich heritage and culture must be preserved .
The Government has taken various steps to improve socio-economic and educational status of minority communities
- Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of Minorities, which is an overarching programme covering various schemes/ initiatives of different Ministries/ Departments.
- National Commission for Minorities (NCM) was set up by the Union Government of India in 1992 to protect the existence of minorities all over India.
- USTAAD Scheme aims at upgrading Skills and Training
- Hamari Darohar Scheme
Minority Cyber Gram programme seeks to introduce digital literacy skills in identified minority clusters in India.