AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF WOMENâ€™S CONTRIBUTION TO FAMILY INCOME IN ASSAM
Dr. Rahul Sarania
About 1.21 billion people lives in India and nearly 48.46 percent of them are women as on 2011 (Census of India, 2011). Nearly 77 per cent of the total women population live in rural areas and 66 percent of them are engaged in agriculture related activities as a main occupation (Mula and Sarkar, 2013; Manikonda, 2014). It is to be noted that women play key role by performing most of the responsibilities and duties in their family and outside yet rural women are economically dependent and vulnerable, educationally backward as well as politically and socially disadvantaged in India. Women still continued to be discriminated, exploited and exposed to inequalities at various levels and in different forms although in its fundamental rights of Indian Constitution has provisions for equality, social justice and protection of women (Reji, 2013). The Government of India has taken several measures to address gender inequality and discrimination by incorporating gender perspectives in policies, strategies and programmes as reflected in national policies and institutional frameworks. This is because of the realisation that the targeted goals could no longer be achieved with development strategies that neglect the need for participation and contribution of women to the society. Furthermore, most of the women are downtrodden and the individual effort of the poor is too inadequate to improve their fate. This necessitates for organizing them in a group for providing collateral free loans, i.e., microcredit by which they get the benefit of collective perception, collective decision making and collective implementation of programmes for common benefit (Karmakar, 1999). As a result, self-help groups (SHGs) have been formed to finance this segment of the poor and create opportunities for income generating activities in order to uplift social and economic status of women in India.
KEYWORDS: women, decision making, free loans, equality, social justice