Empowerment & Planning Process
“ A Candle loses
nothing by lighting another candle. ” - Swami Vivekanda.
"In most of the developing countries today, more and more emphasis
is laid on the need for development of women and their active participation
in the main stream of development process. It is also widely recognized
that apart from managing household, bearing children, rural women
bring income with productive activities ranging from traditional
work in the fields to working' in factories or running small and
petty businesses. They have also proven that they can be better
entrepreneurs and development managers in any kind of human development
activities. Therefore, it is important and utmost necessary to make
rural women empowered in taking decisions to enable them to be in
the central part of any human development process. The
Empowerment of Women also considered as an active process
enabling women to realize their full identity and power in all spheres
The all round development of women has been one of the focal
point of planning process in India. The First
Five-Year Plan (1951-56) envisaged a number of welfare
measures for women. Establishment of the Central Social Welfare
Board, organization of Mahila Mandals and the Community Development
Programmes were a few steps in this direction.
In the second Five-Year Plan (1956-61), the empowerment
of women was closely linked with the overall approach of intensive
agricultural development programmes.
The Third and Fourth Five-Year Plans (1961-66 and 1969-74)
supported female education as a major welfare measure.
The Fifth Five-Year Plan (1974-79)
emphasized training of women, who were in need
of income and protection. This plan coincided with International
Women’s Decade and the submission of Report of the Committee
on the Status of Women in India. In 1976, Women’s welfare
and Development Bureau was set up under the Ministry of Social
Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980-85) saw a definite shift
from welfare to development. It recognized women’s lack of
access to resources as a critical factor impending their growth.
The Seventh Five-Year Plan (1985-90) emphasized
the need for gender equality and empowerment. For the first
time, emphasis was placed upon qualitative aspects such as
inculcation of confidence, generation of awareness with regards,
to rights and training in skills for better employment.
Eight Five-Year Plan (1992-97) focused on empowering
women, especially at the gross roots level, through Panchayat
The Ninth Five-Year Plan (1997-2002) adopted a
strategy of women’s component plan, under which not less than
30 percent of funds/benefits were earmarked for women-specific
The Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002-07) aims at empowering
women through translating the recently adopted National Policy
for Empowerment of Women (2001) into action and ensuring Survival,
Protection and Development of women and children through rights
of Andhra Pradesh is committed to social and economic
empowerment of women. It has adopted micro credit as a tool
to attain the same and had taken the SHG-Bank Linkage program
as a mass movement since 1998-99 onwards in the State to achieve
and capacity building programs have been conducted on production,
packing, marketing, micro credit and utilization of loans
etc., to women SHGs. In addition to the above regular skill
development training programs are being organized for giving
value addition to SHG products, to develop skills among women
on marketing, packaging, etc. Due to the efforts of the government
more than 3.50 lakh women SHGs have availed loans from banks
and other financial institutions and improved their economic
status. Some of the groups have availed the loans 2 to 5 times.
During the financial
year 2003-04 Rs. 1000.00 crores has been targeted as loan mobilization
under SHG-Bank linkage program and an amount of Rs.826.38 crores
has been mobilized up to Feb’ 04.Outstanding achievements In Andhra
Pradesh more than 51% SHGs were financed by banks under SHG Linkage.
This number is more than the all India figure excluding that of
Andhra Pradesh. Further 44% (Rs.1,095 crores) of SHGs were disbursed
the bank loan as against the total amount of Rs.2,438 crores at
all India level. 33,000 SHGs were provided repeat finance by banks
during 2002-03 which comes to 32% of 1, 02,391 at all India level.
As per the reports of the bankers, the recovery of loans is around
95% as against 87% when comparative to other states.
The SHGs have taken up various income generating activities by
availing themselves of the facility under SHG – Bank Linkage program
and increased their production to the extent that it supplies to
the entire country. Micro Finance as a tool of poverty alleviation
and women empowerment has gained acceptance in development dialogue
the world over. There is an acute need among the poor for credit,
both for consumption and production, which often forms the declining
line between survival and succumbing to poverty. For Women to become
a successful entrepreneur, she needs access to capital, technical
and managerial know-how and market. Women are critical for Development
process. Still yet to understand.
BEHARA SRINIVASA RAO, Associate Professor, MBA Dept, Aditya
Institute of Technology and Management (AITAM) ,Tekkali - 532201.