The DWACRA scheme has been a phenomenal success in our state not only by way of inculcating the saving habit, but in enhancing the economic status of rural women and giving a boost to their self esteem and confidence. About 2 million women are now part of the DWACRA movement and their combined savings add up to an impressive Rs.115 crores while the total corpus they operate is as large as Rs.230 crores.
The Government took an important step in the empowerment of minority women by forming a number of self help groups covering 13000 women through the Andhra Pradesh Women’s Co-operative Finance Corporation Limited. Similar self-help groups will also be extended to urban areas.
DWACRA members have participated in three Melas which have exposed them to new technologies and marketing skills. Encouraged by the positive response to these experiments, Government is planning to set up DWACRA bazars in every district as well as a separate Women’s Fund to sustain the efforts of DWACRA groups. To give a quantum leap to the DWACRA movement, in addition to Central flows, the State Government proposes to allocate an amount of Rs.44 crores to DWACRA groups during the year 1998-99.
The single largest Self Help Group is the DWACRA in rural areas and DWACUA in urban pockets. There are over 4,36,500 groups in the State. Together they have saved over Rs 1,400 crore – in the process becoming the most unique example for all development societies in the world. The DWACRA/DWACUA women produce, sell and even export a wide variety of goods ranging from food items like pickles, fruit jellies and other processed eateries to clothes, foot wear, handicrafts and artifacts.
The State Government has been releasing funds from State Revolving Fund since 1998-99 for ensuring the financial viability of these SHGs. The government has also decided to bring light in the lives of women through the Deepam (light) programme. The seemingly simple programme of providing cooking gas facility to the members of rural women groups living under the poverty line, more particularly in the rural areas, is a visual transformation aimed to bring light where there is darkness.
The State government launched the Deepam Scheme in July 1999 for the distribution of over a million domestic LP Gas connections to women belonging to the below poverty line families in the rural areas.