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Andhra allowed‘zero interest’ loan to self-help groups…

Vijayawada(Special Opinion)AP Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy released a sum of Rs 1,400 crore for the Self Help Groups without interest. More about 8.78 lakh Self Help Groups will get the benefit for which 93.80 lakh women in Andhra Pradesh involving the SHGs will be engaged various business.The decision of the CM for Zoro Interest loan to the women category SHG groups is expected to create more empowerment among the women in AP. Each SHG will get a loan amount of Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000. This zero interest scheme was first launched by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy in united Andhra Pradesh in 2011, under which the state government bore the interest burden on loans extended to the women SHGs.However, after the state bifurcation, the state government then led by the Telugu Desam Party had scrapped the scheme in 2016-17. Shortly before state elections in April 2019, the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had gifted 10,000 smartphones and health cards to the SHGs.A zero-interest loan to SHGs was a poll promise of the YSRCP. The party, before the polls, had also promised to waive off all loans pertaining to women cooperative societies.Shortly after coming to power in 2014, Naidu had also waived off Rs 45,000 crore worth loans of SHGs.The SHG women presently secure loans from banks at an interest rate of 7% to 13%. The present state government will now carry the entire interest burden.Interacting with some of the SHG members via a video link, Chief Minister Jagan said he was re-introducing the scheme despite the severe financial hardships being faced by his government. “I thank God for giving me this opportunity,” the CMO release quoted Jagan as saying.The zero interest scheme would prove beneficial to the women SHGs, he said and listed out the slew of schemes launched by his government for the welfare of women.The Chief Minister announced that house sites would be distributed to over 27 lakh women on July 8 as the programme got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                                                                                                      Report : M V Ramana

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