JHARKHAND: Money can come walking in, that’s the new language and metaphor of banking in remote rural villages. In Jharkhand, they call it Sakhi, the “money machine” working for those who need cash the most – pensioners, small borrowers, MGNREGA workers and the likes. If you want to know how the micro-banking works, take a look.
Muniya Nagesiya of Lodh village under Mahuadanr block in Latehar district would either foot it or took a bus for a 15km travel to a brick-and-mortar bank building to claim her pension. It cost her money and a full day, and at times, she’d return empty-handed as either her turn in the queue came too late or the bank simply didn’t have the cash.
Today, young Sunita Beck comes to her doorstep. Beck has got a job of Sakhi, or BC, under well-defined conditions set by banks and carries with her a laptop and a finger-recognition machine. She hands out cash only through bank accounts which are Aadhaar-seeded. “Things are much easier now,” says Muniya Nagesiya. “I don’t have to stand in a long queue and I also save on bus fare,” said Nagesia. She doesn’t have to do any paperwork – one click by Sunita on her computer does all the work.
This is the initiative of the National Rural Development Mission under the Ministry of Rural Development. Supported by the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), the State Rural Development Department, the self-help group members are identified and trained to become an interface between the rural poor and banks. They are also called ‘Bank Didis’ who provide financial services to villagers at their doorstep.
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