SKS Microfinance launches operations

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Kochi, Dec 18 (UNI) SKS Microfinance Private Limited, the new generation microfinance company, has launched its operations in Kerala with an aim to target 7,000 poor households with income-generating loans during the fiscal.

Company Chief Operating Officer M R Rao told reporters here today that "the purpose is to empower poor women to become economically self-reliant by giving them access to income-generating loans and other financial services in a sustainable manner".

He said initially loans up to Rs 12,000 would be given to members of a group of five with each member standing guarantee for the other four in the group.

Kerala had 19 lakh poor households of which 3.6 lakh were headed by women and a huge population dependent on fishing and handicrafts, Mr Rao said.

The state had a micro-credit need of Rs 4,200 crore and SKS was planning to reach 2,00,000 poor households by 2010.

Mr Rao pointed out that there was huge gap in the demand and supply of micro-credit in the country with the total demand being Rs 2,40,000 crore and the current supply being Rs 20,000 crore.

The micro-finance agencies had three constraints -- capital, capacity and cost in providing micro-credit, Mr Rao said.

In Kerala, SKS had launched operations in Palluruthy in Ernakulam district and Thriprayar in Thrissur district.

From Palluruthy, the Company plans to reach out to villages in Aroor, Kumbalangy, Chellanam and from Thriprayar to villages in Thalikulam, Kodungallur, Anthikad, Mullassery, Chavakad and Cherpu.

Mr Rao said additional branches would also be opened in Palakkad, Alappuzha, Kollam, Malappuram and Kottayam district.

SKS Microfinance, a registered NBFC, was listed among the fastest-growing microfinance companies in the world and had disbursed loans worth Rs 1,566 crore across the country.

SKS had operations in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Mr Rao added.

UNI

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