CM Sri N Chandrababu Naidu had expressed this thoughts and plans with the economic and social empowerment of women in AP. A strong crusader for women empowerment, Mr Naidu explains in detail as to how Andhra Pradesh Rural Inclusive Growth Project (APRIGP) will be the next game changer while strengthening the lives and finances of women in the state.
From the CM’s Desk
“Economic and social empowerment of women leads to empowerment of a society. As a strong believer in women empowerment, I have always been at the forefront of introducing innovative welfare programs which have not only empowered women in their communities but also paved way for the creation of ‘social capital.’
During my previous term as the Chief Minister of (united) Andhra Pradesh in late 1990s, Velugu (a social movement involving women from Self-help Groups), started off on an experimental basis and eventually, snowballed into a massive social empowerment movement as well as poverty alleviation campaign that remains the single largest socio-economic collective of women in India even today.
Soon after I took over as the Chief Minister of the new State of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, we, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, have tried to upgrade this program by incorporating digital literacy and technology training for women of SHGs.
With nearly 90 lakh Self-help Group (SHG) members from rural and urban Andhra Pradesh, we have been able to create unprecedented social capital, ensuring capacity building and peer-to-peer support within these groups.
The SHGs are also the strongest social force in the state which have helped us lead our Pedarikam Pai Gelupu (Victory Over Poverty – a poverty eradication campaign) by making development inclusive.
Currently, the average annual formal credit access available to SHG members is between Rs. 6,000 crore and Rs. 8,000 crore.
Despite Andhra Pradesh reeling under financial stress, we have created a Women Empowerment Corporation (WEC) through which have capitalized the SHGs by infusing Rs. 3,000 crore into their corpus and over the next few instalments, we will invest further, totalling it to Rs.10,000 crore which is equivalent to 15 years of savings into SHGs. Further, we have also capitalized the SHGs through an interest redemption grant of about Rs. 1,350 crore.
In one of the experiments we took up this time, we came up with the idea of handing over the sand mining and sale activities from identified sand reaches of the state to women of Self-help Groups. (This includes monitoring mining operations at sand quarries to ensuring delivery of sand to a customer through GPS tracking technology). The aim of this program is to enable the Groups to get a fixed monthly income, apart from making SHG women financially independent.
In one of my interactions with an SHG leader, Jyoti, she told me that her Group made a net profit of Rs. 50 lakh from the sale of sand. The total income from the sale was Rs. 4 crore in one of the mandals of the state she hailed from. She told me how she empowered other women in her village through proper guidance over monitoring sand mining operations. That is an outstanding example of rural entrepreneurship and a process empowering a community through ‘social capital.’
In this ambitious and mammoth task of empowering women through skill development and capacity building, World Bank has been a crucial partner of the Government of Andhra Pradesh for several years in addressing human development issues.
Under the Andhra Pradesh Rural Inclusive Growth Project (APRIGP), the World Bank is providing funding where we are collectively working on evolving the next level of community-based organisations by generating economic activity through productive work, eventually improving the financial status of their families in the society and opening up opportunities to these vulnerable sections by freeing them from the bondage of inter-generational poverty trap.
This project is one-of-its-kind as it brings together players from the private sector, international agencies, academic institutions, social enterprises, civil society organisations as well as the Government to create an ecosystem of innovation and partnership that will be truly transformative through improvement of Human Development Index (HDI) in the state.
The five components of APRIGP are:
Value-chain development through producer organisations
Human Development (Working towards meeting Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs)
Social development, safety nets and entitlements (Ensuring universal access to entitlements and public services (like food security, MNREGS, social pensions, scholarships, etc and inter-linking these platforms through Aadhar)
ICT Partnerships and multi-sectoral, multi-level partnerships.
Simultaneously, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has launched digital literacy mission to make one million women from the state a part of the Internet Revolution which will provide them access to inclusive finance, digital-marketing platforms, Aadhar-enabled service delivery mechanisms like social security pensions and insurance services etc.
With the support of World Bank, I’m confident that this project will evolve into a successful model of social empowerment in a digitally-connected world and enable us to scale it up to the entire state and showcase it to the world.
My vision is to eliminate social and economic disparities, leading to a healthy, happy, technologically-advanced and a sustainable Andhra Pradesh”