Jairam Ramesh takes a dig at Modi over rural mission

Bihar performed better than Gujarat, says Union minister

Jairam Ramesh takes a dig at Modi over rural mission

Taking a subtle dig at Narendra Modi, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Monday that the performance of the Gujarat government headed by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate was poorer than Bihar in mobilising bank loans for women self-help groups (SHGs) under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).

Ramesh made the remark while announcing the rollout of a Rs 1,400-crore scheme to provide interest subvention to the loans extended by the banks to women self-help groups across the country. 

Altogether Rs 650 crore will  be spent on subsiding interest rates for the loans extended by banks to SHGs in 150 priority districts, which include the ones affected by ultra-Leftist insurgency. Besides, Rs 750 crore will be spent on the same in non-priority districts.

Each SHG will get loan up to Rs 3 lakh at seven per cent in the priority districts, which include Mysore, Tumkur, Gadag and Koppal in Karnataka. Each group in non-priority districts will also get up to Rs 3 lakh at the same rate if they repay on time. “The scheme will be retrospectively effective from April 1, 2013,” said the minister. While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government could mobilise Rs 222 crore bank credits for the SHGs in Bihar in 2012-13, Gujarat could mobilise Rs 119.82 crore as loans. To drive home the point that he had no political motive in comparing the two states, Ramesh also cited Madhya Pradesh’s record in execution of the programme. The Madhya Pradesh government mobilised Rs 137.96 crore for SHGs in 2012-13, he said.

Both Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are ruled by the BJP, while the Janata Dal-­United is in power in Bihar. The JD-U last year snapped its ties with the BJP after Modi was made prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls.

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka are ahead of other states in implementing the NRLM in 2012-13, as they mobilised bank credits of Rs 11,164.12 crore, Rs 2,916.10 crore, Rs 898.91 crore and Rs 2,295.15 crore to women SHGs respectively.

 The targets set for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat for mobilisation of bank loans for SHGs in 2013-14 are Rs 12000 crore, Rs 6,000 crore, Rs 4125 crore, Rs 1,000 crore, Rs 500 crore, Rs 395 crore and Rs 220 crore respectively.

The NRLM, a flagship programme of the United Progressive Alliance government, is aimed at covering seven crore rural poor households across all the 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats in the country through 60-70 lakh SHGs in eight to 10 years.

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