Rise of Self-Help Groups As a Social Movement: A Study of Alliances in Indian State of Odisha

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Binay Kumar PATTNAIK, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Akhaya Kumar NAYAK, Indian Institute of Management Indore, India
The micro-finance based income generation for empowerment through the Self-Help Groups (SHG) of women in the Indian state of Odisha has been a widely reached programme for empowerment and socio-economic development of women. SHGs have been playing a key mediating role to empower the rural women. Collective mobilization of the millions of rural women to form their institutions through lakhs of SHGs, thousands of NGOs, MFIs, and bank branches give this phenomenon a movement dimension. Hence, firstly, the present paper is an earnest and novel attempt to examine the evolution and development of the phenomenon of SHG in the state of Odisha from social movement perspective (i.e from mobilization to institutionalisation). It further discusses if the phenomenon is a social movement at all and examines the applicability of different social movement theories to study it. Secondly, based on both secondary and primary data the paper uses the resource mobilization theory of social movements as the analytical framework to explain the emergence and functioning of SHG system through two cases studies of SMOs, like Mission Shakti and TRIPTI. Thirdly, based on the social constructivist theory the political and cultural opportunity structure in Odisha was enquired into and it was found to be very much supportive of making the said movement wide spread. At the same time operation and control from the top affects the rigor of the movement and also changes its very nature. Thus women SHGs in Odisha have emerged as a kind of social movement actor that forges alliances with the Govt. department of women and child development on the one hand and forges alliances with the civil society organisations (NGOs) and MFIs on the other. These new alliances are forged at the grassroots level.