Marketing of Products Produced by Self Help Groups

In the era of growth and development, all nations try to uplift themselves to global standards in all areas. The key areas commonly identified by most economists are the social and economical transformation. The economic indicators are per capital income, gross domestic product, net domestic product, share in world trade, foreign exchange reserves etc. On the social side, drinking water, reliable electricity, good sanitary conditions, viable transport system etc, are given due importance. Millions of people in our country dream that India will become an economic super power in”2020″.
It will be possible only by means of a balanced growth in all sectors. The pattern of growth prevailing at present is more in urban and metropolitan cities when compared to rural areas. This creates an economical imbalance in our social system.

Over the years poverty, unemployment and excess population are our important weakness. Among the above three, poverty and unemployment are directly correlated. Creating employment opportunities will curtail the poverty line. Previous studies with regard to people living below the poverty line clearly reveals that majority of them are living in rural areas. So concentrating on rural mass is the need of the hour.

After independence Government of India launched innumerable social and economical welfare programmes in spite of poverty and unemployment proliferates. Earlier programmes like Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Training of Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM), Supply of Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans (SITRA) and Ganga Kalyan Yojana (GKY) were conceived to be complementary to each other, for achieving the larger goal of poverty alleviation in the rural areas. Over the years, however, there was an erosion in the process of implementation of the programmes. These were conceived as integrated programmes with the objective of supplementing each other efforts to ensure energy. However each programme has been implemented as a separate and independent programme that focused more on the achievement of individual programme targets. The over all impact of the programmes in poverty alleviation, therefore was less than what was expected of them. The programmes were, therefore reviewed and the Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) was launched on April 1999as the single self-employment programmes in their place.

The SGSY is a holistic programme and the objective of SGSY is to bring the assisted poor families (Swarozgaris) above the poverty line. Under SGSY poor families are organized into Self-help groups (SHGs) through the process of social mobilization. SGSY ensures training and capacity building and provides income-generating assets through a mix of bank credit and Government subsidy. It is a credit linked scheme. Here, the credit plays a predominant role and subsidy is an enabling component.

Under this scheme, financial assistance may be given to individuals or groups (Self-help Groups) belonging to below poverty line families. However, the emphasis will be on the Group approach. The SGSY envisages developing activity clusters by selecting about 10 key activities per block. The programme is being implemented in rural areas of all the States / UTs (except Delhi and Chandigarh)1

The basic idea of “SHG” scheme is derived from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). IFAD (1989) is quite similar to SHG programme, which was organised by an international social welfare agency. The head quarters of IFAD is situated in Rome. IFAD aimed at providing subsidized individual loans to people below poverty line for undertaking activities such as animal husbandry, horticulture, sericulture, khadi and handloom. Indian Bank played a key role in financing these schemes. The scheme was implemented in 75 unions of 8 districts on a selective basis. The IFAD project was successfully completed in the year 19982. Keeping in mind the positive results of this scheme, the state Governments in India wanted to continue this scheme. So a separate wing was setup under social welfare department for continuing this scheme. Now SHG is being used as a major weapon in poverty eradication.

The research had been carried out on the following objectives:
To study the origin, growth and development of Self-help groups
To understand the marketing of the Self-help groups products
To analyze the marketing problems of Self-help groups
To know the self-employment activities done by the Self-help groups

HISTORY OF SELF – HELP GROUPS
Self-help groups first emerged in MYRADA in 1985. In 1986 – 87 there were some three hundred SHGs in MYRADA’s projects. Many had emerged from the breakdown of the large cooperatives organized by MYRADA. In these areas, a numbers of members asked MYRADA to revive the credit system. They usually came in groups of 15-20. When reminded of the loans they had taken out from the cooperative, they offered to return them to MYRADA, but not to the cooperative, which in their experience was dominated by a few individuals. MYRADA staff suggested that they return the money to themselves in other words the members who had come in a group to present their case to MYRADA. After some hesitation, they decided to continue meeting in these smaller groups. MYRADA staff realized that they would need training: how to organize a meeting,set an agenda keep minute, etc. Efforts were made to train the members systematically. On analysis it emerged that the members were linked together by a degree of affinity based on relationship of trust and support; they were also often homogeneous in terms of income or of occupation (for example, agricultural labourers), but not always. Caste and creed played a role, but in several groups affinity relationship and economic homogeneity were stronger; as a result, several groups included different castes and creeds. From the time that the first SHGs emerged in 1985 to the inclusion of the SHG strategy in the annual plan for 2000/01 (Government of India, 2000), several important steps were taken by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and leading NGOs, as well as by multilateral agencies, particularly IFAD. The SHG strategy is an important component of the Government’s overall thrust to mitigate poverty and has been included in every annual plan since 2000.

SUGGESTIONS
1. There is no male SHG in the study area. The promotion of the male SHG can be suggested in the study area.
2. Family planning awareness must be given to the group members as majority of them have 4-6 members in their family.
3. Make each and every member of the group to attend the meeting regularly.
4. Motivate the group members.
5. Strict action should be taken for not attending the meeting.
6. Necessary steps should be taken to deposit the collected amount in nationalized and co-operative banks to promote rural development.
7. Steps should be taken to make all the group members to attend the self employment-training programme promptly.
8. Self-employment training programme should be suited to the surrounding environment.
9. The groups must make use of the loan amount efficiently.
10. The number of self-employment activities should be increased.
11. There should be adequate co-ordination within the group.
12. The government authorities can promote the marketing of goods at state level.
13. Self help group mainly concentrated on pickle making business. Self-Help Groups should give keen attention on other areas in order to increase the diversification of business, which may earn higher profit to them.
14. Women’s development is mainly depends upon their income level. Nowadays most of the women’s are join in Self-Help Groups and do their job. From the study, the produced products mainly selled in village town and district. They are not concentrated on state level marketing. It may because of non co operation from the other states or lake of finance. So the central government should give appropriate co ordination to self help group do get loan from the nationalized bank and also each and every state should co operate them selves to allow the sales of products of other state self help groups.
15. Government should arrange most members of training program and way of presenting advertisement and also the government channels can broadcast the self help group advertisement with meager amount or at free of cost. Which may help them to advertise their product easily with lower amount. The public also may know about the product through advertisement.
16. Most of the Self-Help Groups are following direct selling method to sell the products. It may because of non preference by the shop keepers. The government can give subsidies to the shop keepers and also to other purchases like shopping malls, big bazaar’s etc., It may increase the sales of products.
17. Government should take necessary steps to increase the sales of self help groups. Government should assure the purchase of certain products such as Seri culture handy crafts etc., which may increase the income self help group members. The government should take necessary action to increase the number of Self-Help Groups in order to increase the women empowerment. Government should allot adequate fund to do the small scale businesses such as preparing paper cups etc.,

Self-Help Groups are created with the aim of women empowerment. It is only possible through encouraging Self-Help Groups in several small scale industries. From the above study make known that most of Self-Help Groups are involving sum self employment activities and market their products. Still they are in need of government support to improve their activities. If the governments do that defiantly their economic level can be improved.

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