Despite the large size and depth of India’s financial system, the majority of the rural poor do not have access to formal financial services. Reaching about 5 percentage of the population, micro-finance began primarily with non-profit organisations delivering micro-credit and pioneered the use of collateral substitutes and self help groups (SHGs) to ensure high repayment. Having proven that financial services can be adapted to meet the needs of poor, households can contribute in the fight against poverty. The challenge now is to bring those benefits to more of India’s poor in a financially sustainable way.
With the reach of its rural network, Drishtee is in a unique position to extend banking services (it has a tie up with India’s largest bank – State Bank of India as its business correspondent) and micro finance services in rural communities.
These services offer a unique opportunity to address the needs of the marginalized community and is in sync with Drishtee’s mission of ‘enabling the development of rural economy and society’.
Drishtee has worked on this model in three states in India for banking services and two states in Micro-finance and the outcomes have been very encouraging. Unlike the traditional Self Help Group approach, Drishtee has leveraged the entrepreneur’s knowledge of the village community and aims at achieving the following:
- Creating viable business opportunities for entrepreneurs in villages who provide financial services (including banking, microfinance and insurance)
- Helping to create an ecosystem with relevant micro-enterprises that can be funded