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Driving economic growth: How female SHG incomes are tripling, SBI study reveals

Female Self-Help Group (SHG) members' accounts have shown an increase in income by three times during FY19-FY24, as per a study conducted by the Economic Research Department of the State Bank of India.

The maximum increase in income of 4.6 times was seen in urban female SHG members' accounts. Also, the maximum income increase was witnessed in the age group of less than 27 years (4.7 times).

The report said the ensemble of SHGs, now 8.5 million strong and having 9.21 crore members, is furthering a revolution whose first credible offerings can be seen in the ever-swelling proportion of 'Lakhpati Didis', or agile women entrepreneurs in a uniquely Indian way.

The bank-SHG linkage, after a chequered journey of three decades, can truly be dubbed as the game-changer as 97.5 per cent of the SHGs today have a bank account (82.05 lakh out of 84.93 lakh SHGs), the report said.

The robust bank relationship of SHGs as a group and its individual members, inter alia, has enabled credit onboarding in the right dosage, in time, a critical component of furthering economic value addition as it dissipates the roadblocks to a benign operating cycle, offering optimal funds at reduced RoI (interest subvention) that unlocks their marketing potential in full.

The SHG portfolio of banks is inching towards Rs 2 trillion now. Credit linkage, digital access, and targeted policy measures, coupled with an unwavering sense of entrepreneurial spirit, have ensured that female SHG members' accounts witness income tripling during FY19-FY24 (credits in accounts), the report said.

Most of the female SHG members belong to the age group of 35 to 50 years with median age of 43 years.

In fact, income has increased for SHG members across the board. Relative income analysis suggests around 65 per cent of rural SHG members have moved upwards in terms of relative income in FY24, when compared to FY19, the report said.

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