Working Papers
  • Federating the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in India: Emerging Conceptual and Policy Challenges
  • Author : H.S.Shylendra
  • Feb-2018

Co-operative federations are seen as natural extensions of the organic growth process of primary co-operatives. The federating process, by way of vertical integration, is supposed to bring in several benefits as it tries to address the felt needs and shared values of members. The normative tenets visualised for the success of federations suggest that such systems have to be bottom-up while being democratic and economically sound in their integration and functioning. Lately India has witnessed widespread emergence of federated structures of informal self help groups (SHGs) as a corollary of the growth of the SHG movement. Besides ensuring the sustainability of SHGs, these federated structures are seen as potential instruments that can socio-economically empower the former and their members.   However, the formation of SHG federations has neither been uniform across the country nor free of perplexity as regards their design and role. The paper is an attempt to critically examine the conceptual and policy challenges confronting the SHG federations. Based on an assessment of the role being played by the SHG federations, the paper identifies possible ways of taking them forward in a sustainable way.

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