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Rehabilitation, microfinance bill likely in budget session
New Delhi: The Indian government will introduce a bill to make available more credit to members of rural self-help groups in the coming budget session of parliament.

Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said Tuesday that a Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and a Rehabilitation and Settlement Bill may also be moved for easier take over of farmland for industry and to provide better rehabilitation of those who lose land.

Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh Tuesday said the last two bills were in an advanced stage of preparation.

"The parliamentary standing committee is close to finalising the bills aimed at effectively facilitating land acquisition for industrial purposes by ensuring proper rehabilitation of the displaced persons," Singh said while inaugurating the 8th Social Editors Conference here.

"A fine-tuned rehabilitation policy would be an effective checkmate to what the country witnessed where people opposed tooth and nail the acquisition of their land for setting up special economic zones or other industrial hubs," he said.

Referring to the government's expansion plan for microfinancing through self-help groups, Singh said the proposed Microfinance Bill would easily make available financial assistance to targeted groups covered under the Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).

There are 2.7 million such groups comprising members from poor families, out of which only 0.5 million are engaged in economic activities.

"The Microfinance Bill would ensure that all self-help groups are engaged in economic activities by 2015 and each of them could earn at least Rs 3,000 per month," Singh said.

The central government has earmarked Rs 18 crore ($4.57 million) for SGSY in 2007-08, and around 1.6 million groups were created in 10th five-year plan (2002-07).

"An amount of Rs 8242 crore ($2.09 billion) was disbursed as credit among the self-help groups," he said.
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