Creation of the first ever women’s cooperative fund in Rajasthan

A one-of-a-kind Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG) Cooperative Fund is being established in Rajasthan to provide timely loan facilities to their businesses. The fund, titled Mahila Nidhi, will be launched on Women’s Equality Day on August 26 and membership will be given to all cluster-level federations operating in the villages.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will inaugurate ‘Mahila Nidhi’ here in a state-level ceremony, which is likely to be attended by around 10,000 women beneficiaries of self-help groups. The fund will be modeled after the Stree Nidhi Credit Union Federation of Telangana.

Principal Secretary for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Aparna Arora, said here on Tuesday that a series of five-day programs would be held to mark Women’s Equality Day with a focus on women’s empowerment through special programs and value-added and marketing links for SHGs.

Mahila Nidhi, which will be entirely managed by women, will act as a complementary body with the formal banking system. It should also bring down the number of loan applications pending at banks. Rajasthan’s Grameen Ajeevika Vikas Parishad signed a memorandum of understanding with Stree Nidhi last month for the establishment of the institution.

Gehlot had announced the creation of a financial institution run entirely by women in his 2022-23 budget speech to the Assembly earlier this year. With Mahila Nidhi getting a grant of ₹50 crore from the state government in the first two years of its operations, women will get loans to start new businesses and meet the financial needs of SHGs.

Ms. Arora said around 1,200 SHG members along with beneficiaries of various programs will participate in a discussion on women empowerment at the Jaipur Exhibition & Convention Center to mark Women’s Equality Day.

Virginia S. Braud