BAREILLY: Over two dozen members/volunteers of women self-help groups (SHG) on Friday gathered at the Urban Haat and paid homage to former prime minister Atal Bihari . The volunteers said that it was Atal ji who had shaped the idea of SHG for empowering rural women, when he was the PM.

The local administration had decided to organise Saras fair from August 16 to 24, but it was postponed on Thursday in the wake of national mourning to mark Vajpayee’s demise.

Salman Zameer, assistant statistics officer, said, “In 1999, PM Vajpayee introduced Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana to promote self-employment in rural areas through formation of SHGs. Today, 85 lakh SHGs across the country cover over 10 crore families.” Zameer, who is also in-charge of the Saras fair, said that now the fair would be inaugurated after the national mourning is over.

“All cultural programmes will now be organised after August 22. Besides, we will try to extend the fair till on August 26. This time around, artisans and SHG volunteers from southern states, including and , have arrived to participate in the fair,” he said.

A self-help group is a small voluntary association of people, preferably from the same socio-economic background. They come together for the purpose of solving their common problems through mutual help. SHGs promote small savings among members. The savings are kept with a bank.
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