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India

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many (a) small, (b) medium and (c) shared loans were provided to poor people in Andhra Pradesh as a result of Departmental programmes in each year since the project began; what the target was for these years; and if he will make a statement. [120484]

Access to credit is a critical issue for many poor people in Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere in India, with indebtedness being a major cause and symptom of poverty. Over the last few years, the state government has strongly supported activities in this area, particularly the formation of women's self-help groups. More than 450,000 groups (with membership of around 6 million women) have been established in Andhra Pradesh—the largest number in any state in India. These groups are centred on savings and credit, enabling the members to build up their own savings and to borrow from group funds to cover unexpected expenses eg illness, or as start-up capital for income-earning activities eg purchasing livestock. DFID is supporting this work under the Credit and Small Household Enterprise (CASHE) project, which provides funding to local organisations. The project operates in five of the poorest districts in Andhra Pradesh, and also districts in Orissa and West Bengal. The CASHE project works with around 250,000 groups in Andhra Pradesh, helping to facilitate their establishment and providing training to enable them to operate effectively. The group members keep their own records and make the decisions on the amount and number of loans that will be made from their group savings. No targets are set and no central records are kept of the transactions.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development how many children have been taken out of labour in Andhra Pradesh as a result of Departmental programmes in each year since the project began; what the targets were for these years; and if he will make a statement. [120485]

Andhra Pradesh has one of the highest incidences of child labour in India. Since 2000, DFID has been supporting the International Labour Organisation's Integrated Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC) in the state. This programme works with trades' unions, parents, employers, and non-governmental organisations to build support for eradicating child labour. It works in parallel and as a support to the state government's own efforts to eliminate child labour and to ensure that all children attend school; the government has set universal primary education as a target to be reached by 2005. It is not possible to determine how many children have been taken out of child labour by the ILO-IPEC project and how many from government's own efforts. The government has estimated that combined effect of these actions in 2002 was that almost 500,000 children were taken out of child labour.In Andhra Pradesh, the Government of India's District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) includes establishing "bridge" schools for former child labourers. Children attend these schools for around four months with the aim of moving into mainstream schools at the end of the period. DFID is one of the donors supporting DPEP in Andhra Pradesh, providing up to £46.5 million over 9 years.