In 1998, the erstwhile Government of Andhra Pradesh decided to set up a Women’s Bank to lend to Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and SHG Federations. The key stakeholders, including non-government organizations (NGOs), banks, and micro-finance institutions (MFIs), who were interested in strengthening the SHG movement felt that the issues at the field level and quality of SHGs needed priority rather than setting up a lending agency. The Government conducted a series of consultation meetings with state level NGOs engaged in the promotion of SHGs and NABARD. After many rounds of discussions, a Working Group was constituted under the chairpersonship of Mr. Vijay Mahajan, which submitted a concept paper in 1998 indicating the need for the establishment of an autonomous State Level institution to strengthen the SHGs and provide technical assistance to NGOs, Government and banks involved in SHG promotion. It was suggested that the autonomous institution be registered as a Public Charitable Trust, with the name Andhra Pradesh Mahila Abhivruddhi Trust. Finally, after consideration of different issues, it was felt that a ‘Society’ would be a better legal form than that of a ‘Trust’ and hence came into being Mahila Abhivruddhi Society, Andhra Pradesh (APMAS). On June 14, 2001, APMAS was registered as a public society, under the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Public Societies Registration Act, 1350 Fasli and subsequently under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) on 28.10.2002 (No.010230543).
APMAS has a diversified Board (annex 1) with representation from the government, banks, academic and research institutions, NGOs, SHG federations and distinguished individuals. Dr. P. Kotaiah, former Chairperson of NABARD, was the founding Chairperson of APMAS. The current Chairperson of APMAS, Shri. Kaki Madhava Rao IAS (Retd.), was former Chief Secretary of Government of Andhra Pradesh. The Audit Committee of the Board ensures effective governance and advises the Board on financial matters, and monitors the accounting and Internal Control Systems of the organization as per the accepted Standards. There is an Internal Auditor who reports to the Audit Committee. Audit reports are discussed and corrective measures taken as necessary. The Board has constituted a Consultative Forum consisting of the SHG representatives to advise APMAS on its priorities and programmes. A Human Resource Committee is constituted at the staff level, which meets once in every six months to discuss various staff related issues and concerns which are recommended to the Board for its consideration and approval. APMAS has well defined financial and accounting systems and procedures, human resource policy and operational guidelines, procurement policy, gender policy, committee to address sexual harassment at workplace (CASH) and environment policy.
Mr. CS Reddy, Founder and CEO of APMAS worked for several years with CARE International in India. The senior staff are engaged in the implementation of various programmes, designing Training of Trainers’ programs, developing training modules & resource materials, conducting research, and imparting training to various stakeholders (government, NGOs, Bankers, SHG Federations, Farmer Producer Organistaions and Community Based Organizations). APMAS is headquartered in Hyderabad with regional & field offices in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Bihar.
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