Sahara Utsarga Welfare Society

Message from the President

More than 70% of the population in India lives in villages, most of which are underdeveloped. Various strategies have been formulated from time to time for upgrading the rural sector for alleviation poverty, creation of employment opportunities and generate good growth.

Microfinance has been proved to be an effective instrument for poverty reduction. Improved access and efficient provision of savings, credit, and insurance facilities enable the poor to smoothen their consumption, manage their risks better, build their assets gradually and develop their micro enterprises. Government, NGOs and other financial institutions have introduced various welfare schemes and activities to reduce poverty.

Microfinance, by providing small loans and savings facilities to those who are excluded from commercial financial services has been developed as a key strategy for reducing poverty throughout the world. In India, a substantial microfinance system based on self help groups (SHGs) was developed. It has allowed the poor people to protect, diversify and increase their sources of income. In India there is continuous growth in population and West Bengal is no exception, but there is practically no industrial growth. Hence, in West Bengal dire need of microfinance has been felt consistently for last few years, for gainful utilization of time and energy of large no. of poor people.

Rural development and poverty reduction are related to the issue of rural employment. Rural households livelihood strategies comprise several options, including farming and non-farm activities, local self-employment and wage employment, and migration. Poverty reduction through self employment has been a high priority for the Government of India. Financial services could enable the poor to leverage their initiative, accelerating the process of generating incomes, assets and economic security. However, conventional finance institutions seldom lend down-market to serve the needs of low-income families and women-headed households. Microfinance has proven to be an effective and powerful tool for rural development as well as poverty reduction and created the hope and increased the self-esteem of the poor by giving the opportunities to be employed. MF sector has witnessed a sharp growth with the emergence of a number of Micro Finance Institutions providing financial and non-financial supports to the poor in an effort to lift them out of poverty. As President of the organisation I really feel proud that since 1998 SUWS is engaged in this job and successfully discharging its responsibilities despite several odds. However, this has been possible due to untiring efforts of the staff at the field & HO, right corporate planning, control over the performance at all levels, proper and prompt decisions at the point of need and above all, heartiest co-operations from most of the SHG members.

There was pressure on liquidity during the year and rate of recovery was hampered mainly due to reduction in loan amount and partial non-fulfilment of request for loan. Lending agencies still have not shown any sort of co-operation in financing and SUWS is totally acting based on its own financial resources. However, as a measure to overcome the liquidity crisis and also to serve the rural people in better and various ways, SUWS has submitted application towards formation of Small Bank and its name has been short listed. Keeping in view the past track record I am confident that SUWS will succeed to act as a Bank through its well maintained network in the state of West Bengal.

At last I convey my sincere thanks to SUWS team serving the society and all others who extended their co-operation to us for marching ahead towards continuing the service to the poor and distressed people of the society.