Kerala asks banks not to fail plan for women

April 20th, 2008 - 10:15 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

Thiruvananthapuram, April 20 (IANS) Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has warned the banks in the state that the government will act tough if they fail to support Kudumbashree mission, the state-supported women empowerment programme. “If the Kerala banks fail to provide funds to the Kudumbashree at an interest of eight or less than that, the government will not deposit its funds in such banks,” said Isaac at a review meeting of Kudumbashree here, Sunday.

The Kudumbashree mission was launched by Isaac as a member of the State Planning Board in 1998.

Over the last one decade, Kudumbashree has helped set up more than 165,000 self-help groups, which have a thrift collection of almost Rs.9 billion ($225 million).

They have also set up micro enterprises, which provide gainful employment to women from the lower strata of the society.

Trouble has been brewing ever since union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram drew flak from Isaac after the former launched Janasree Sustainable Development Mission in February.

The Janasree mission has been floated with the objective of promoting micro enterprises by organising one million people into 50,000 units of self-help groups.

The scheme is believed to have the blessings of the state unit of the Congress party.

Isaac, on the day Janasree was launched by Chidambaram, said the project was meant to get “central funds on the sly”.

“Some banks appear to be very keen to support Janasree and it’s time Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy spoke out on why they are going ahead with Janasree,” added Isaac.

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