The present study is an attempt to analyse the role and performance of SHGs in promoting women’s empowerment in Thiruvallur District , Tamil nadu. The broad objective ofthe study is to analyses the operating system of SHGs for mobilization of saving,delivery of credit to the needy, management of group funds, repayment of loans, in building up leadership,establishing linkage with banks and examine the social benefits derived by the members. In order to collect and gather primary data, field observation and structure questionnaire survey methods were employed.
In addition, information was also collected through discussions and interviews with local NGOs and government’s grass roots level workers. The Mahalir Thittam was implemented in Phase I during the Year 1997-98 in Thiruvallur district. In Thiruvallur District there are 539 Village Panchayat (Grama Panchayat). SHGs are formed in all Village Panchayat and the number of Self Help Groups will be from 3 to 11. In order to reduce the dependency of SHGs on its project partners, it has been decided to form Panchayat Level Federation in every Village Panchayats.
The Panchayat Level Federation will consist of the members of the representatives from various SHGs in that particulars Village Panchayats. At present, there are 296 PLFs in Thiruvallur District compressing of 2106 Self Help Groups. The study reveals that SHGs had set a new agenda for financial intermediation by banks in the form of micro-credit. By the formation of SHGs, credits are demanded for various purposes (domestic, health, festivals, repayment of old debts, investment, etc. ).
Similarly different economic activities Manufacturing of Paper Cup ,Jute Bag ,Catering Technology,Leather and Rexene ,Tailoring,Herbal Products ,Beauty Parlour,Soap Manufacturing,Agarbathi ,Diary products, Screen Printing are undertaken by the SHG members after joining the group. Habits of savings, economic independence, self confidence, social cohesion, asset ownership, freedom from debt, additional employment, etc. benefits are derived by the SHG members. Thus, SHGs have served the cause of women empowerment, social solidarity and socio-economic betterment of the poor for their consolidation.