Odisha announces zero % interest loans for SHG; BJP hits back

Puri: Eyeing to woo women voters ahead of the crucial general polls, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced loans at zero per cent interest to empower women self-help groups (SHG) in the State. While attending a mega convention of Mission Shakti groups in Puri, Patnaik also inaugurated several welfare schemes for the women SHGs including financial assistance of Rs 15,000 seed money, Rs 3,000 for smartphones and Rs 25 lakh for block-level federations.

“The women SHGs will get loans at zero per cent interest,” said Patnaik during his short speech at the event.

BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi, on the other hand, alleged that BJD has not found out any alternative way of improving the financial conditions of SHGs, except giving seed money.

“In 2013-14, the state had 5.23 lakh SHGs and now claims 3 lakh new SHGs since April, 2017. Should have been a total of 8.23 lakh SHGs but government figures show 6 lakh SHGs. How did the Houdini act of 2.23 lakh vanishing SHGs happen?” tweeted Sarangi.

In another tweet, Sarangi stated that the Women and Child Development Department dated October 15, 2018, had given direction to all Collectors to distribute seed money to SHGs. Why was the government waiting till January? Isn’t there a clear linkage between seed money and vote bank politics?