Ahmedabad, Sep 25 (UNI) SKS Microfinance launched its operations in Gujarat today from the tribal-dominated Dahod district which is among the 200 poorest districts in the country.
Announcing the launch of operations here Founder and Chief Executive of SKS Vikram Akula said, ''While the Gujarat economy has performed well, there are about one crore people still living below the poverty line. Our goal is to help address this poverty by providing microfinance at the doorstep of the poor so that they can start micro-business and earn income.'' He said SKS will also launch operations in other districts of the state like Banaskantha, Dang, Narmada, Panchmahals and Sabarkantha, and has a target of reaching 2600 poor households by March 2008.
SKS Microfinance launched its operations from Hyderabad in 1998.
It aims to empower people by providing small business loans among poor women in remote villages. It has disbursed over Rs 1,200 crore loans with a 99 per cent repayment and also provides a life insurance product through the Life Insurance Corporation of India(LIC), he said.
An Income Generating loan of Rs 10,000 is being distributed to members in the beginning for a 50-week loan period and a mid term loan is given when the member is 25 weeks into the loan cycle with another Rs 20,000 with an effective interest of 28 per cent per annum. The members who successfully complete one loan cycle become eligible to take a maximum loan of Rs 40,000 which does not require a guarantee.
Mr Akula said, ''We also offer a loan insurance cover for all members and the policy covers the entire loan amount with interest. In case of the death of a client or spouse, the loan amount outstanding is written off and the principal paid is returned to the client's nominee.'' SKS which is the fastest growing microfinance company today has its operations in over 16,000 villages and has more than ten lakh members spread over in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and will soon launch its operations in Kerala.