The Maharashtra government has decided to take assistance from Nobel laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammed Yunus to empower women self help groups (SHGs) in the drought prone Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. According to Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, the government wants to promote products of women SHGs to financially strengthen such families. Yunus, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2006, is scheduled to visit Mumbai on September 7 and meet Mungantiwar.
“I will learn from him and will consider promoting microfinance”, the minister said. “Tribals from Chandrapur produce various items from bamboo sticks and we have started a shop in Nagpur from where people can buy the products”, Mungantiwar said. “One family from Vidarbha makes pots from sand and the interesting thing is that all their products get exported to Europe and other countries”, he said, adding that there are several groups or individuals who produce quality items, but do not get the desired market.
“Women’s self help groups and people involved in the production of such items need finance. Sometimes it is not a huge amount, but they fail to get even small amounts from banks. Thus, we came to the conclusion that microfinance is the best answer to solve this problem”, he said. Stating that microfinance would help distressed farmers in the state, Mungantiwar said he was keen to know how Yunus succeeded in bringing about a microfinance revolution in Bangladesh.
Incidentally, Yunus is social entrepreneur, banker, an economist and a civil society leader. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2006 for his efforts to create economic and social development for poor people through microcredit. He is the founder of the Grameen Bank which pioneered the concept of microcredit and microfinance.
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