Informal workers find their own solution to financial vulnerabilities and celebrate the success of their cooperative

Annual turnover reaches to 1.5 crore, target set to cross 5 crore in coming three years

As much trumpeted financial inclusion programs and schemes of the government and the formal banking institutions fail to reach to the informal workers, thousands of working poor of informal sector have embarked on a collective journey for betterment of their lives in their own empowering way. They are finding out their own solutions to the problems related to financial accessibility. It was quite evident here in Delhi on 27 October in a meeting wherein a large number of informal workers, mainly women, joined the deliberations on how to strengthen their thrift and credit cooperative society. They celebrated the gains achieved in last six years and planned to scale newer heights in the coming days. The meeting marked the sixth annual general body session of the National Association of Street Vendors of India and its affiliate Nidan run community owned financial venture ‘Sanchay Cooperative Urban Thrift and Credit Society Limited’.

The participating informal workers having shareholding membership of the society assessed the sweep and reach of their own society, deposit and flow patterns, benefits availed by the members and the balance remaining. They also discussed on the opportunities and the challenges coming in the wake of expansion of the society and decided on how to reach out to newer areas in the national capital territory of Delhi. Presently three thousand members of the society are concentrated mainly in east Delhi and a pocket in south east Delhi.

The annual report and the balance sheet presented in the meeting show amazing flows with present annual turnover reaching to 1.5 crore and loan disbursement touching 33 lakhs. The members decided to increase the turnover to more than 5 crore in coming three years and put focus on group loan system.

Addressing the meeting of the informal workers, NASVI national coordinator Arbind Singh described the Sanchay initiative as an “ enabling and empowering process for the informal workers who toil hard, contribute much, but always remain vulnerable to risks and economic-social insecurities.” He said, “the tall claims of the government and the formal banks that they are reaching out to the poor and vulnerable always get exposed when one see the harsh reality of financial vulnerability in informal workers’ lives.” “The experiences clearly show that the formal banks have inherent limitations to reach out to the working poor. Only the self owned institution like cooperative can enable the informal workers overcome their insecurity and lead a descent life through secured livelihood and earning”, Mr. Singh added citing examples of milk/dairy cooperatives.

He appealed to the field staff to fan out to the newer areas for expanding the society in south and west Delhi, open and run new branches and cater to the needs and aspirations of more and more people. He thanked all shareholders, especially the women shareholders for showing economic prudence, expenditure discipline, saving grit and trust on the society.

The meeting was presided over by a team of informal workers representing the executive board of the society.

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