Half of working women in rural Punjab have an average debt of ₹1.5 lakh
Women construction workers have no access to bank credit, forced to depend on non-institutional sources, says a farmer commission’s study
Nearly half (48.38%) of the working women in rural Punjab have an average debt of ₹1.51 lakh, a study by the Punjab State Farmers and Farm Workers Commission has revealed.
Also, women construction workers in the state are the most distressed as majority of them have no access to bank credit and depend on non-institutional sources, thus paying interest rates as high as 13.55%.
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents interviewed in the study demanded that the government should roll out financial assistance schemes for them, says the study on women involved in agriculture and allied sector activities like dairying and poultry; manufacturing, construction, retail trade, education, health, social work, and domestic services.
The working women in rural areas contribute substantially to their household incomes, it was found.
The study was conducted in 74 villages of all districts and 20 working women were selected from a village, thus covering a total of 1,480 respondents. One-third of the households have deficit incomes wherein expenditure is more than earnings. Most of these households have a family member suffering from an ailment for many years.
But most (80%) of them benefitted from the state government’s Atta-Dal scheme and are aware of the government run schemes for the poor.
Women working as farm labourers want to work for more days in a year. Also, the average daily wage is a meagre ₹213 while it is ₹128 for those working as domestic helps. Besides, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) contributes just 4.6% of the total household income of rural women with an average annual earning of Rs. 2,780.
An average woman domestic worker owns assets worth ₹26,000, a construction worker ₹53,000 and a farm labourer to the tune of ₹95,000, the study says.
On the other hand, women involved in cultivation or dairying own assets worth ₹30 lakh, the highest average, followed by women working in health and education sectors who possess average assets to the tune of ₹27.28 lakh and ₹25.20 lakh.
Their expenditure on house construction is nearly 75% of the total spending.
In rural Punjab, women constitute 47% of the total population with a literacy rate of 65.8% against to 79.2% of their urban counterparts. Women comprise 42.2% of the rural workforce, according to the study.