'Nepotism rampant in Udyogini scheme'

'Nepotism rampant in Udyogini scheme'

In many districts, political leaders were using the Udyogini scheme to build their local ‘vote bank,’ exerting pressure on officials to identify candidates of their choice for benefits under the programme, which is aimed at enhancing skill and talent among women and thereby improve their livelihood.

The study was conducted by K G Gayathridevi and  S Erappa from the Bangalore-based Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) at the behest of Women Development Corporation (WDC) to understand the positive and negative aspects of the credit linked employment generation programme. The objective of the Udyogini programme is to encourage women to don entrepreneurship roles with bank credit and engage in income-generating activities.

The study, carried out in eight districts and 23 taluks covering different regions, found that all decisions about the enterprise were by male members of the family of the beneficiaries and it was the husband/father/son who managed the entire process in 99 per cent of the cases.

At the same time, data also showed that more than establishment of new enterprises, women (or rather their husbands) had utilised the loan amount to upgrade an existing unit/activity. 

Members of poor and backward households were not forthcoming to avail these loans as interest rates of public sector banks are ‘high’ and there were strict rules for repayment, the study reveals. The study has stressed the need to improve the method of identifying the really poor based on income and other economic criteria.