Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Community based rice banks

Anaj Bank frees Dalits from fear of hunger in Bihar "
Community managed rice banks in several areas of Patna district in Bihar have released hundreds of Dalit families from the exploitative practices of powerful landlords by ensuring food during the lean season."
From the article:
"Kumar, who leads Pargati Gramin Vikas Samiti and started the Anaj Bank with support from Action Aid on 2005, said groups of women in each village have been running the Anaj Bank with their own support system. “Action Aid has stopped its support in 2013,” he told VillageSqaure.in. “Since then, groups of women in dozens of villages have been managing it successfully without any support from outside.”
For setting up the Anaj Bank, a group of women in each village was initially given Rs 5,000 cash to purchase rice and Rs 2,500 to purchase big drums for storage. “Every year during January, February, and March, people return rice that they have taken on credit as per its terms that enable us to store enough rice for giving again on credit during the lean season,” Kumar says.
More than 500 women are associated with the Anaj bank in dozens of villages. “In each village, 10 to 15 women have been doing community farming. They have taken 2-3 acres of land on lease. It is a new phenomenon in this locality.”
The Anaj Bank was set up in 65 villages — 30 in Bikram, 20 in Pali and 15 in Naubatpur. According to Kumar, no hunger deaths have been reported in these villages of Dalits after the Anaj Bank started functioning."
This is where Non Resident Indians can help. Locating local organizations which do this kind of work takes some effort since there are also bogus NGOs and also many whichsoe are using for promoting their own careers. With some other established organizations, lot of the contributionsgo to the salaries of the personnel and only a small fraction actually goes to the poor.
After about ten years, I have found some organizations both formal and informal which seem reliable. But some of them do not last as people get weary after years of dreary work.

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