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Why in news?

SHG members have emerged as community warriors by contributing in every possible way to contain the spread of COVID-19. As the masks were the first line of defence against COVID-19, SHGs immediately took up the task of production of masks.


  • Approximately 690 lakh women members of around 63 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country formed under the DAY-NRLM, Ministry of Rural Development, are engaged in livelihoods activities, bringing social change through awareness generation, leading movements and responding during natural calamities.
  • The SHG network across the country was made aware of the various aspects of the disease including the need to maintain personal hygiene, social distancing etc.
  • SHGs members are creating awareness in the local communities by various means like telephone calls, wall writings, pamphlets/fliers etc. Social media is also being used extensively.
  • SHG volunteers are playing their role in ensuring that people maintain social distancing in markets, PDS shops etc.

Some noteworthy steps taken by some State Rural Livelihood Missions (SRLMs) re:

  • JEEViKA, Bihar stepped in and started working on IEC materials that would help in awareness and preparedness for the outbreak. JEEViKA is trying to systematically reach out to a maximum number of households through its 1.4 Lakh SHGs and spread the awareness on topics such as handwash, sanitation, quarantine and isolation and social-distancing.
  • The Didi helpline, a telephonic helpline initiated by Jharkhand SRLM, is open 24 hours to help migrant labourers by providing them verified information.
  • Notable efforts have been made by women of Kudumbashree in Kerala, to help dispel the widespread fake news that causes panic.


  • National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) is a poverty alleviation project implemented by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
  • This scheme is focused on promoting self-employment and organization of rural poor.
  • The basic idea behind this programme is to organize the poor into SHG (Self Help Groups) groups and make them capable for self-employment.
  • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM) is a new name given to Aajeevika – NRLM in November 2015.
  • The initiative to move towards a demand-driven strategy enabling the states to formulate their own livelihoods-based poverty reduction action plan is at the core of the mission.
  • The strength of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development, are the approximately 690 lakh women members of around 63 lakh Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country.

What are SHGs?

  • Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions.
  • It can be defined as self governed, peer controlled information group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose.
  • Villages face numerous problems related to poverty, illiteracy, lack of skills, lack of formal credit etc. These problems cannot be tackled at an individual level and need collective efforts.
  • It looks to build the functional capacity of the poor and the marginalized in the field of employment and income generating activities, and resolves conflicts through collective leadership and mutual discussion.
  • It provides collateral free loan with terms decided by the group at the market driven rates.
  • Such groups work as a collective guarantee system for members who propose to borrow from organised sources. Consequently, Self-Help Groups have emerged as the most effective mechanism for delivery of microfinance services to the poor.
July 2024