Meet Chetna Gala Sinha Founder of Mann Deshi Bank India’s First Rural Microfinance Bank for Women
With her bank and foundation Mann Deshi, Chetna Sinha has made sleepy, rural Mhaswad a place of entrepreneurial aspirations for women.
Rewared by Forbes India Leadership Award 2017: Entrepreneur With Social Impact.
Chetna Gala Sinha was born in Mumbai, an economist, farmer and activist and founder of India’s First Rural Microfinance Bank for Women. In the 1970s she was active in the student movement of Jayprakash Narayan. Her participation in the movement enabled her to work extensively with rural and marginalized communities. After her marriage to a Mhaswad farmer and rights activist, Chetna decided to pursue a career in agriculture in Maharashtra. This was when she experienced one of the biggest challenges faced by rural women in the first place–lack of access to financial services leading to debt loss.
Chetna Gala Sinha Journey To Develop Mann Deshi Bank
Chetna Sinha believes strongly that empowering rural women helps improve their lives and ensure the well – being of their families and their communities. With this vision, Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank Ltd has been established.The idea of starting Mann Deshi Bank came to her when a rural woman asked her to open a bank account.
However, things didn’t happen overnight. Chetna was denied a license because women to whom she would give loans were an alphabet. Although dismayed, Sinha was supported by the village women who encouraged her to pursue the idea and even asked her to teach them. Finally, willpower, passion and the endless support of women led Chetna to launch this unique microfinance bank.
In Mhaswad, Maharashtra district of Satara. India’s first rural financial institution to obtain a cooperative license from the Indian Reserve Bank is believed to be. The Bank was established in 1997 and is run by women.
In addition to providing financial assistance, it also invests in the development of rural infrastructure and asset building; projects to rejuvenate traditional local skills; offers training for skills improvement and re – establishes links between women and new markets. In 2004, with the aim of promoting the right of women to own property, Mann Deshi Bank succeeded in persuading the Maharashtra Revenue Department to include women’s names on stamp papers required for immovable property transactions.
Sinha’s Contribution To Bring Revolution Among Rural Women
The Mann Deshi umbrella includes the operations of two other organizations, Mann Vikas Samajik Sanstha and Mann Deshi Mahila Bachat Gat Federation, in addition to the bank. Sanstha provides students with bursaries, training in vocational skills and camps for health education. The Federation is a non – profit organization aimed at developing and empowering rural entrepreneurial women. There are currently over 300 self – help groups. They are self – employed women who are vegetable suppliers, sellers of milk and weavers. Sinha succeeded in introducing this new concept to develop a culture of microentrepreneurship among women in Maharashtra’s inaccessible, drought – prone regions. Her work and contribution has also gained international recognition and acclaim.
How Mann Deshi Bank Helping Rural Women To Achieve Their Dreams
Chetna started her dream project with the share capital of 600,000 rupees and now Mann Deshi Bank deals with more than 200,000 women through eight branches and 140 field officers in all over Maharashtra and Karnataka. This microfinance bank has rewarded by ISO 9001- 2000 certificate and recovery rate of 98%.Micro credit plants ranging from loans for 5 years to 1 day and providing as low as 5000 rupees to offering women the flexibility to pay on a daily basis. This microfinance bank has cracked the write model to engage rural women.
This microfinance bank also provides individual loans where a customer can receive a loan of less than 15,000 Rupees with the signatures of two women who act as guarantors and group loans which can be obtained by opening a savings bank account for a sum of 5,000 Rupees to 20,000 Rupees. Women can also apply for loans with gold or security deposits. The daily loan facility is another useful service. Each field official handles 300 accounts and ensures that money is recovered. And since reimbursement can begin with amounts as low as Rs. 15 or Rs.20, it is not a burden for the payer. More than 15,000 such transactions are carried out every day throughout the Mann Deshi Bank branches.
” Mann Deshi isn’t just a bank,” Chetna says. We aim to satisfy these women’s needs and empower them to become stronger figures. “
From empowering women to increase their confidence and self- dependence, Mann Deshi has played a key role in rural women’s lives. If it had not been Chetna ‘s strong resolve and never- giving attitude, it would not have been possible.