Condemning remarks allegedly made by Rural Development Minister Vatti Vasanth Kumar that members of self-help groups are falling into debt traps because they borrow money to buy cosmetics, Telugu Desam Mahila activists on Wednesday staged a dharna at Basheerbagh crossroads, demanding that the minister withdraw his comments and apologise to the women of the State.
The Telugu Mahila members accused the minister of not understanding the financial problems faced by poor women, and if making irresponsible, hurting and insensitive comments.
Protestors demanded his resignation, and said that instead of initiating action against microfinance institutions for trapping SHGs into debts and charging exorbitant interest rates, the minister was blaming the women.
Vasanth Kumar had allegedly stated that SHG women members have been taking loans from microfinance institutions to buy make-up, beauty creams and powders, and are thus falling into debt traps, at a workshop on social security for women SHGs which was held under the aegis of Society For Elimination Of Rural Poverty.
"The minister's statements will hurt the sentiments of every Telugu woman. The debt-ridden women and rural folk are forced to commit suicide, unable to repay loans. If the government had provided loans through banks, the situation would not have arisen at all," they stated.
filed in:Self Help Groups, Microfinance, Microfinance Institutions, Vatti Vasantha Kumar, Women Rights