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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-71: JAJAPUR MAHILA BANK!

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The women of Jajapur believe that all you need is an idea, because any idea can be implemented if you have the will. From a stage where they were afraid of going out of their village on their own, they now own their own bank. They are unique indeed.

There are about 500 families living in Jajapur village in Narayanpet mandal of Mahaboobnagar district. Earlier, the women of this village had no standing. In 2002 the watershed programme of APRLP was initiated in the village and with the help of WOTR, 18 self-help groups were formed. These groups in turn formed a village organisation. The women were well trained and understood the objectives of the programme.  Therefore these groups took proper care of the savings and loans and used to meet twice every month.

Through the livelihood fund of the watershed programme the village organisation started giving higher loans for income generation activities to their members. Initially there was a problem collecting the loan repayments. Since the village organisation met only twice a month, women had to save up the repayment amount and wait for the village organisation meeting.  Sometimes, they ended up spending that amount
and were unable to make their loan repayment on time, and had to pay a penalty. This led to a decrease in repayments. Therefore the village organisation decided to have their office open on all days. They engaged a book-keeper at a salary of Rs.800 per month to maintain the account books and work as an office assistant.  Ever since then the repayments have been a 100%.

Women who had saved some money after paying their loan installment had to go to Narayanpet Bank to deposit their savings. Those who could not go to the bank frittered away their money. Thus an idea was born – Why not have a bank of our own?

The village organisation took guidance and information from WOTR, organised a village meeting and informed the village Sarpanch and other elders about the activities that they were initiating. With their encouragement they started a Mahila Bank in Jajapur village and appointed a manager who is paid Rs.1, 500 as remuneration.

They collect deposits, so that even those who are not members of the self-help groups can deposit their savings. They collect fixed deposits at an interest rate which is higher than nationalised banks (at present they have collected Rs.30, 000 as fixed deposits from twenty members). They have convinced aged
persons to save Rs.50 to Rs.200 from their old age pension so that they will not need to borrow from anybody if they fall ill. They hand out pass books, voucher withdrawal forms, loan applications, ledgers and daily reports as part of the banking process.

Depositors can get back their money at any time. Self-help group members can get small amounts at any time. The money collected as deposits is loaned out at 2% interest while they pay 1% to the depositors. They are now contemplating lending money at a higher rate of interest to people who wish to invest in a large scale activity.

At present the total deposit in Jajapur Mahila Bank is about Rs.12, 50,000. They earn Rs.24, 000 as interest while their overheads are just Rs.1, 900 (Rs.1, 500 for the manager’s salary; Rs.200 for room rent; Rs.200 as cost of stationery).

This is an example of how a need sparked off a lucrative idea, thanks to the APRLP.
Rural Livelihoods, Sustainable Living,

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