Swami Vivekananda SwanirbharKarmasansthanPrakalpa(SVSKP):
SVSKP, a flagship scheme of the Department of SHG&SE is implemented by theWest Bengal Swarojgar Corporation Ltd. (WBSCL). Implemented across the state, basic objective of the scheme is to provide increased access to credit for development of rural/urban enterprises by supporting unemployed young individuals and group of individuals. Unemployed young persons, within the age group of 18 to 45 years and an income ceiling of Rs.15,000/- per month for the family are included as the target group for the scheme. More stress has been given on training, especially on trades where the locally available abundant raw materials, wasted due to ignorance, could be utilized for producing finer articles and on traditional crafts where there is sufficient potential. The scheme was launched in 2011-12 financial year and have been able to provide support to 2,62,030 till 30 September 2019.
West Bengal SwanirbharSahayakPrakalpa (WBSSP)
WBSSP was launched in 2012-13 financial year with the objective of reducing interest burden of the Self-help Groups accessing bank credit through the interest subvention. The scheme ensures that no Self-help Group pays more than 2 per cent as interest for the bank loan received. Interest subsidy from the department ranges from 9 per cent to 2 per cent, depending on the nature of the group and the programme under which the group is mobilized. Implemented throughout the state and for all the registered SHGs accessing bank credit, the Department has so far been able to provide interest subvention to 21.05 lakh self-help groups. Implemented through the West Bengal Swarojgar Corporation Limited, this is an entirely state government funded programme. In order to streamline the system, it has been decided by the Government that the Banks will submit the claim of subsidy electronically to West Bengal Swarojgar Corporation Ltd, wherefrom the claims will be verified and after verification e-payments will be made directly to the accounts of the eligible SHGs through RTGS/NEFT.
Training on self-employment and livelihood augmentation
Objective of the training scheme of the SHG&SE Department is to provide skill development support to the unemployed young people as well as members of the self-help groups with a view to increasing entrepreneurship, livelihood potential and wage employment opportunities. Training interventions from the Department covers several trades namely tailoring, mushroom cultivation, embroidery, computer training, electric repairing, food processing, mobile repairing, jute products manufacturing, vermicompost, terracotta, fast food & glass painting, beautician, hospitality management, handy-craft, kantha stitch etc. Launched in 2012-13 financial year, the programme has been able to cover close to 1 lakh people till September 2019.Trainings courses are organised either directly by the Swarojgar Corporation by engaging training service providers or by utilising the resources of the development departments having stake in livelihood augmentation through various interventions.
With a view to create employment opportunities and improve qualitative standards of the products of the SHGs, special training programmes have been organized in 23 blocks of 3 districts, namely Purulia, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur in the Jangal Mahal area. Trainings have been imparted on production of herbal dye from flowers, dry flower making, making varied products from Babui grass, making quilt from hen feathers, plates for Sal leaves, Eucalyptus Oil extracting, designer musk making, Lacproducts etc.
Muktidhara, an initiative in achieving convergence for SHG members and unemployed youth
Muktidhara was initiated as a small experiment in the district of Purulia to enhance livelihood opportunities of the tribal women through specific micro firm based as well as non-firm projects and training interventions. Some of the initiatives in Purulia emerged as interesting models of development, especially of tribal women. Hon’ble Chief Minister, having been impressed with the initiative, gave it the name of Muktidhara. Later on, the project was extended to all the South Bengal districts except Bankura.
Initially the focus in Muktidhara was livelihood augmentation of the SHG households by providing support for micro firms and micro enterprises. The focus was also on skill up-gradation of SHG members in both production and service sectors. The department also included an element of support to individual youth through skill development and bank loan subsidy-linked projects.
In a shift in approach, the department has decided to implement Muktidhara as a convergence initiative where all the development departments having stake in village development and development of livelihood are to be taken on board and through concerted effort all the villages in the project area are to be developed using resources from multiple departments and programmes. The role of SHG&SE Department has been conceived of as the coordinating department in such convergent community action.
SamajSathi, an assurance scheme against accidents faced by the SHG members
SamajSathi is an assurance scheme for the self-help group members of the state. The task in this regard has been entrusted to the SHG & SE Department as the Nodal Department and WBSCL as the Implementing Agency. Of late converted into assurance mode, the project aims at providing critical support to the self-help group members and members of their families falling victims of accidents. In sync with SwasthyaSathi implemented by the Health & Family Welfare Department, SamajSathi provides additional support of Rs.2 lakh for accidental death and permanent total disablement, Rs.1,50,000/- (maximum) for partial permanent disablement and Rs.100.00 per day of hospitalisation in lieu of wage loss. There is also a provision for Rs.2500/- for funeral expenses for accidental death over and above the principal amount.
Organising fairs and exhibitions for increased marketing avenue for the products
Fairs & Exhibitions are organised on regular basis to open up avenues for marketing the products of the self-help groups and self-employed entrepreneurs and establish their linkages with potential buyers, apart from publicizing and creating awareness regarding quality, prices, and usefulness of the products. The Department organizes annual fairs known as SabalaMela at the state level, for Kolkata and for at the level of the districts and often sub-districts. The SHGs not only succeeded in selling their merchandise considerably but also a majority of them succeeded in establishing links with some business houses, whole-sellers and eminent persons of the marketing world for future sale of their products all the year round. Dissemination of knowledge amongst the common people related to SHGs and SEs and their products including niche products was also a major objective. Cultural programmes are organised every evening to make this fair more attractive. The Department aimed at enabling the SHGs and entrepreneurs to have access to the market both domestic/national and international.
A few selected SHGs and individual entrepreneurs take part in India International Trade Fair every year wherein the products,especially the innovative ones manufactured by the SHGs and self-employed entrepreneurs were adored and purchased by buyers from all the cross sections of the society in Delhi and also by buyers from outside the country. Apart from this, a large no. of SHGs take part in the fairs organized by different departments of the State Government and various fairs organized by the civil society organisations.
Construction of Training-cum-Marketing Complexes(KARMATIRTHA):
The Department has undertaken a programme of setting up of projects of Training-cum-Marketing Complex (Karmatirtha) in the district and sub-divisional headquarters underthe State Plan to facilitate training of SHGs for skill development and for marketing of their products.
Jaago, a special initiative to provide revolving fund support to the self-help groups
The Department of SHG&SE is at the final stage of giving shape to an ambitious project of supporting all the graded self-help groups of the State or SHGs accessing bank credit through a modest annual revolving fund support of Rs.5,000.00. This ‘no strings attached’ funding support is expected to give a boost to the empowerment of the groups. Known as Jaago, the project has a target to cover close to one million SHGs of the state.