Hot on the heels of promising easy loans for women’s self help groups (SHGs) in the Congress manifesto for Uttar Pradesh election, the UPA cabinet will take up a proposal to create a corpus of Rs500 crore for SHGs in its meeting on Thursday.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had proposed in his last general budget that such a fund would be created to promote women SHGs. The union cabinet will finally take up the proposal a month before Mukherjee presents his next general budget.
But the cabinet proposal assumes significance in the backdrop of the assembly polls in UP where the Congress has promised to set up special banks to cater to the needs of SHGs. The party’s manifesto also promises that if returned to power, its government will provide loans at a discounted interest rate of 4%.
The cabinet proposal says the corpus will be handled by NABARD. Anticipating reservation of a section the cabinet about NABARD’s efficiency, senior cabinet ministers on Wednesday called up some key ministers to ensure no hurdles come up in the passage of the proposal. In his budget speech, Mukherjee said:To promote women SHGs, I propose to create a “Women SHG’s development fund” with a corpus of Rs500 crore.
Embassy in South Sudan
New Delhi is all set to open its newest embassy in South Sudan, the newest country in the world. The union cabinet will consider upgrading its consulate into an embassy in the African nation, indicating its intention to have a stronger foothold in Africa that is seen the “new growth pole.”
Agreement with Eurostat
The cabinet would be considering a proposed agreement between European Statistical Organsiation (Eurostat) and Ministry of Programme Implementation and Statistics for better cooperation in area of statistical collection. With the agreement, the government wants to adopt best practices adopted by Eurostat in data collection and its quick analysis.