It also says that India’s FLFPR is likely to be underestimated, with reforms in survey design and content required to capture data more accurately. “Self-help groups (SHGs), having demonstrated their resilience and flexibility during Covid, can be an effective conduit to tap the rising willingness of females to work. The 1.2 crore SHGs, comprising 88% of all women SHGs, cater to 14.2 crore households,” the report said.
The survey points out that 75% of rural female workers are employed in the agricultural sector. “This implies a need to upskill and create employment for women in agriculture-related sectors such as food processing. Here, the self-help groups (SHGs) can play a crucial role in shaping rural women’s potential into concrete developmental outcomes of financial inclusion, livelihood diversification, and skill development,” it says.
The survey states that SHGs are well-placed to facilitate overall rural development. “The demonstration of their resilience and flexibility during crises, including Covid, needs to be regularised for long-run rural transformation. This includes addressing inter-regional disparity in the deepening of the SHG movement, graduating SHG members into micro-entrepreneurs… and including the least privileged under the SHG umbrella,” it states.
It notes how SHGs supported efforts to reach out to people with welfare measures during the pandemic, and highlights how they led from the front in producing masks, sanitisers, and protective gear, creating awareness, delivering essential goods, running community kitchens and assisting in delivery of financial services.
“The production of masks by SHGs has been a noteworthy contribution. More than 16.9 crore masks were produced by SHGs under National Rural Livelihood Mission,” it says.
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