Atulya Nirman Micro Finance is an innovative concept in the field of eradicating poverty. Mahadeo Jadhav –Founder & CMD, experienced that there is a disconnect between the theories propagated by the economists and the poverty-stricken communities that live outside of academia. So far, all economic theories have failed to redress the problems of poverty faced by the poor. This led Jadhav to think out-of-the-box that led the creation of Atulya Nirman as a Section 8 company on 15 August 2015 set up with the objective to help and enable the poor at the bottom of the pyramid.
It supports below poverty line (BPL) and needy women, imparts vocational training to them to make them aware of various aspects of micro finance and facilitate financial support to them to help them become entrepreneurs.
The most difficult task was of finding the beneficiaries & convincing them of the concept. Once accepted, they had to be given vocational training to hone their in-built skills. For example, it was observed that some women who were vegetable vendors, borrowed money from moneylenders at 20 per cent interest even on a daily basis. It was shocking that women who borrowed s1,000 in the morning were returning s1,200 at the end of the day. This resulted in all the earnings for these women to be paid back as interest.
Atulya Nirman is providing micro finance to unemployed and low-income individuals, women or their groups – who do not have access to any other form of financial service or formal credit. Their financial needs are addressed, vocational training is imparted and handholding is done in setting up a small enterprise of their choice. Marginalised have now access to affordable, high quality financial products, including not just credit but also savings. Atulya Nirman is helping to reduce the income inequalities and social disparities by addressing the stigma of being ‘poor’.
The process for financial assistance for women is as follows:
- Group of 10 applicants with reference of its agents approach with their proposals for financial assistance.
- After initial discussions, they fill up an individual application form through their Group Leader. Residential proof and a cancelled cheque is also submitted.
- Post scrutiny, approval for disbursement takes place.
- The amount of sanctioned assistance—maximum s10,000 per applicant—is transferred in the beneficiary bank account.
- Group Leader is assigned the responsibility of collecting the EMI from all the members of the Group.
The field agents reach out to the women’s groups in order to understand their financial need and capabilities to undertake a vocation. This is followed by a training to hone their inherent skills, which is followed by financial assistance with flexible repayment options that comes without any mortgage. More than 5,000 women’s groups have approached Atulya Nirman out of which, nearly 500 women’s groups around Mumbai and Thane region have been credit linked. Many of them happen to be repeat customers based on their repayment history. Soft loans of up to s1 lakh per group of ten women have been sanctioned and disbursed. Atulya Nirman is targeting to service 10,000 such groups by 2020. Once these women realise their potential, it leads to additional income, enhanced savings and improvement in their quality of life.
Atulya Nirman Micro Finance Association has been instrumental in redressing the hitherto unaddressed theories of eradicating poverty of the women below poverty line and facilitate their return to the main stream by pulling them out of their present financial conditions by giving financial support and offering vocational training. Till date 3,500 women have been empowered & it has an ambitious target of reaching one lakh such women by 2020.
Jadhav says, “We have been concentrating on people below poverty line. Every human being has immense potential. Even a single human being can change the life of our society, country and its future. Each and every individual carries a hidden potential, which most of the times remains unexplored. We would never be able to sense it unless we create an environment required for such a potential to be discovered. We are the captains of the ship. If we determine our goal and persevere, then we will reach our desired destination.”
Once these women realise their true potential, they start working hard. With the additional savings/income, they are in a position to improve the quality of their lives that positively impacts the lives of their family including children. It ultimately helps in improving the health of the community in particular and nation in general.