The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating affect on women self assist groups (SHGs) in Uttar Pradesh (UP) as they wrestle to make two ends meet in absence of labor.
“I work with a SHG that does zari work but I am without work since lockdown. Earlier, we used to get large orders in August and September due to Diwali but there are very few orders this time,” stated Rubina Raza Khan, 40, a member of a Moradabad based mostly SHG.
“I used to earn around Rs 12,000 in these months but have not earned a single penny this year,” she added.
The money Rubina earned performed an necessary half in supporting her family of 5, particularly the schooling of her two daughters and a son. “I never went to school but ensured that my children go to a school and I used to pay their fees from my earnings. I don’t know how I will manage their fees this year,” she stated in despair.
According to an estimate by the state authorities, greater than 15 lakh women SHGs are registered in UP, starting from 5 members groups to these with greater than 50 members.
“SHGs are source of income for women, especially the housewives,” stated senior economist and former advisor to state authorities, Ravindra Bhatia.
Bhatia stated the SHGs in India had an excellent monitor file of returning the loans however the Covid-19 scenario can change this. “Although the majority of loans taken by SHGs are of small values, the group will face difficulties in returning them due to the decline in earnings. SHGs will have to either expand their expertise or change their work to continue to be in operation in these testing times,” he added.
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According to nationwide financial institution for agricultural and rural growth (NABARD) knowledge, greater than Rs 23,320 crore is deposited by SHGs registered with it throughout the nation.
Poonam Gupta, founding father of a self assist group in Hardoi, linked with NABARD stated: “We took a loan of Rs 1 lakh from the bank in July last year to take extra orders for decorative pots. We have not been able to submit the deposits to the bank since March because our work has stopped completely and there is little hope that it will start soon.”
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Parvati Kushwaha, who ran a SHG in Jhansi that made packaged snacks, shifted to sewing masks to earn some money in the course of the pandemic. This helped her and her group of 12 homemakers for just a few months however their earnings have decreased not too long ago. “We earned Rs 4 each for stitching a mask earlier but now the supplier only gives us Rs 2.5 per mask. We are managing with the earnings somehow but we are earning less than half of what we used to,” she stated.