Reported By: Arpita Macwan, Officer Programmes, West Zone
Edited By: Communications Team
Amravati, Maharashtra: Amravati comes under the Vidharbha region, which is known as most drought prone area. Vidharbha’s economy is primarily dependent on agriculture. There have been more than 200,000 farmers who have committed suicide in Maharashtra in the last decade, out of which more than 70% farmers belong to the 11 districts of the Vidarbha region.
The primary causes of so many farmer suicides is the infertility of the land, lack of ample amount of water resources, lack of new technologies and due to the apathy of the state. The main crop in Vidarbha is cotton, but the farmers growing it do not get their due price, which leads to distress among them, thereby leading to an increase in the number of suicides.
The dismal situation in the sate coupled with poor socio – economic conditions, inspired IGSSS to intervene. IGSSS along with partner organisation Divyasadan started working in six villages of Bhatkuli block of Amravati district. One of the steps taken during the initial phase of the intervention was to strengthen the already existing Indriyani self help group (SHG) formed by a few women in the village. The group was only confined to savings. However, the IGSSS team along with the team members of the partner organisation facilitated the adequate functioning of the group. They were imparted knowledge towards adequately managing the group. Following which trainings and exposure visits were facilitated for the group. This enhanced their confidence and the women decided to set up their own Dal Mill.
Setting up the mill was not easy as they had only Rs. 16,800 as the SHG’s savings and the cost of the machine as high as Rs.3, 55,000. The insufficient funds were not something which could deter these women from the path they had chosen and they started looking out for opportunities to realize their dream.
They obtained a loan of 1, 52,000.00. The remaining balance amount was contributed by themselves to meet the target. Finally, the Dal Mill was set up. This year the women have produced 110 quintal of tuvar dal (lentils) and earned a profit of Rs. 44,000. These women have much bigger plans than being contended with their profit. They are now planning to apply for government sponsored credit schemes which will help in the smooth functioning of the Dal Mill. The Indrayani SHG has become an example of team work in the village and has become an inspiration for many other women in the village to initiate their own journey of self discovery. They have become a ray of hope for many in the village.