Impact of micro finance through self-help groups for the upliftment of social and economic condition of Minorities in West Bengal, India
Md Ishtiyaque Ahmed
West Bengal is situated in the eastern part of India which is economically less developed and considered as one of the poorest states of the country. In West Bengal there are different caste and religions. The minority of this state includes Muslims (second most popular religion in the state with 27.01 %), Christians by 0.72 %, Jains by 0.07 %, Sikhs by 0.07 % and Buddha by 0.07 %. Around 1.03 % by Other Religion, approximately 0.25 % stated 'No Particular Religion. The economic condition of the minorities in west Bengal is poor and among them the status of Muslims minorities is worse. As per report published in economic times dated March 02, 2016 titled as ‘Living Reality of Muslims in West Bengal coproduced by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Institute and Association SNAP, “Muslims in West Bengal are economically more deprived than others”, only 1 per cent households are fortunate to have salaried jobs in the private sector as their main source of income and about 47 per cent of all Muslims in rural Bengal, who work, belong to the category of agricultural and non-agricultural labour. Government, NGOs, MFIs, SHGs and other organizations have taken several initiatives for the upliftment of social and economic status of minorities in this state. This paper tends to highlight the role of micro finance through self-help groups for the upliftment of economic status of minorities in West Bengal.