Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the entire northeastern states and eight other states in the country will now be able to avail micro-credit scheme from India Post as the latter has already tied up with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
The 16 states to get this scheme include Assam; Arunachal Pradesh; Manipur; Meghalaya; Mizoram; Nagaland; Sikkim; Tripura; Bihar; Gujarat; Karnataka; Kerala; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra; Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.
The scheme was so far operational in five districts of Tamil Nadu including Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Tiruvannamalai, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur on a pilot basis.
According to a PIB release, Post Offices in Tamil Nadu have successfully disbursed credit to the tune of Rs. 1.35 crores to 165 Women SHGs with no default noticed in repayment so far.
It said Post Masters have been specially trained in nurturing SHGs and carrying out inspections.
An interest of 9% is charged on the loans out of which India Post has a share of 3% and the remaining 6% will go to NABARD.
The scheme helps the Postal department in cross selling its financial and insurance services to the members of the SHGs, thus strengthening their financial and life security. This underlines the continuing relevance of rural Post Offices and their closeness to the public.
The release said that Post Offices in the country have already disbursed about Rs 2900 crores as wages to the beneficiaries of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
The total number of accounts opened for NREGS payments is about 1.5 crores. The number of Post Offices disbursing the wages across 21 states is over 70, 000 (including Head Post Offices, Sub Post Offices and Branch Post Offices).