Formal Structure and Efficiency of Self-Help Groups: An Economic AnalysisAuthor : Mudaser Ahad Bhat
Volume 7 No.3 October-December 2018 pp 97-102
Self-help groups are generally seen as instruments for goals including empowering women, poverty alleviation, developing leadership qualities among poor and needy people. SHGs bridge the gap between haves and have-nots. These groups have become basic sources of village capital. Self-help group’s (SHGs) have had a record of success, but they are gradually losing their significance as an instrument of micro-finance and financial inclusion. The persistence of poverty and gender inequality on the scale at which they still exist are not acceptable. This reflects that SHGs face the issues of declining efficiency and quality, although their quantity is alright. Further, the natures of formal structure within which SHGs operate and function have a fundamental effect on their functioning and efficiency and on the efficiency of micro-finance and inclusion programmes. If the problems of these groups are addressed efficiently and are provided with sufficient institutional and financial support, the efficiency of these groups will improve and “efficient and viable self-help groups could do wonders”. Due to enhancement in efficiency and sustainability, self-help could improve the social capital base not only of members but also of non-members. It is in this background that this paper attempts to identify the particular parameters/elements that must be present uniquely in the formal structure of all SHGs so that all SGHs may follow a unique logical architecture in their functioning. This study also attempts to analyze the relationship between the formal structure of SHGs and their total savings, their lending capacity, total amount left after disbursements and number of beneficiaries. Finally, this study also attempts to analyze the impact of their formal structure, bank loans received the ability to repay received bank loans, regularity/irregularity towards savings on their frequency of using the bank. From the obtained data and statistical analysis, the study found that the majority of SHGs function independently of their organizational structures. This mars their overall efficiency because the formal structure has its significance in achieving group goals and thereby, increases the level of work quality. Working of SHGS according to a well-established structure positively and significantly impacts their savings, borrowing capacity, lending capacity and a number of beneficiaries. Referred to the data, we can conclude that those SHGs use their operational bank accounts frequently that have a well-established logical structure, received and repaid banks loan since their inception, maintained regularity in group savings and participated in income generation activities than those which lack a formal structure, were unable either to receive or repay bank loans, faced irregularities towards group savings and not participated in income generation activities. So SHGs should pay specific attention towards the formulation of logical structures to work on, maintain regularity in their savings and should participate in income generation activities. Further, banks should provide sufficient loans to these voluntary saving groups and should increase the loan repayment period for them so that these group may become able to maintain their sustainability in the long-run.
Self-help Groups, Microfinance, Formal Structure, Savings, Bank Account Usage, Borrowing, and Lending
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