Ananto Boro, a resident of Makeli in Chayygaon Revenue Circle in Kamrup district of Assam, had no idea of business until circumstances compelled him to navigate this uncharted territory. He was the first in his family to step into business: a grocery shop in his village. He says it was made possible by the financial institution called the North Eastern Development Financial institution (NEDFi)
“A business correspondent of NEDFi was in touch with me right from Day One of the opening of my shop. I came to know about its micro lending facility and agreed to take a loan amounting to over ₹ 1 lakh. After submitting the required documents, he did the follow-up for me. An amount of ₹ 1.10 lakh was credited to my account after some days,” Boro told Asom Barta over phone.
“To repay the amount with interest, I will have to deposit ₹ 3,900 per month for the next three years,” he added.
Boro said that he has invested the amount to increase the variety of goods in his shop, which, in turn, was giving him a decent return.
Ila Moral of Sulakuchi in Kamrup started a fast-food outlet near Sankar Mandir in her locality three years ago. Sualkuchi known as the Manchester of Assam has witnessed a spurt in commercial activities in the recent past. “To develop our business, we were looking for cash infusion. It was then that a business correspondent of NEDFi came to us,” she told Asom Barta. “After due process, NEDFi sanctioned us ₹ 1.20 lakh,” Moral added.
The Morals are not only paying instalment on time but also taking care of the school fees of their two daughters studying in a private English medium school, besides, of course, their household expenses.
Boro and the Morals are among the hundreds of beneficiaries of NEDFi’s micro lending scheme being successfully implemented across the North East of the country. “Our micro credit schemes were launched to assist the grassroots small borrowers in unserved & underserved areas of the region. More than 90% beneficiaries in our micro credit schemes are women. This has enabled them to improve their economic status,” says PVSLN Murthy, the Chairman and Managing Director of the financial institution.
As if to reinforce his belief in the success of NEDFi, Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma announced a contribution of ₹100 crores by the State Government towards a new “Micro Lending Scheme” launched by the institution while celebrating its 27th foundation day recently.
The Chief Minister handed over a cheque of ₹ 7.89 crore on behalf of NEDFi for 669 borrowers under this scheme.
The NEDFi Micro Lending Scheme was launched to help micro entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their income generation activities at a concessional interest rate, with a loan size of up to ₹ 2 lakh. The interest rate is fixed at 15% per annum, which, it claims, is the lowest in the domain with a target group of existing and potential micro entrepreneurs and microfinance borrowers.
Addressing the occasion, the Chief Minister congratulated the financial institution for assisting micro, small, medium and large enterprises for setting up industrial, infrastructure projects in the region since its inception.
Dr. Sarma stated that the current dispensations at the Centre and the State are keen to empower the people of the region, especially the youths, through the entrepreneurial route. This, the Chief Minister stated, would give financial independence and employment opportunities to the youths of the region.
“It is our dream to bring down the credit cost for the needy and first generation entrepreneurs through our intervention. We are preparing our best towards this goal. Various new IT initiatives have been rolled out. New products & services introduced to cater to the customised needs of the entrepreneurs. We are reaching out to difficult & far-flung areas for affordable credit directly. This Scheme will help us to fulfil our dream,” Murthy told Asom Barta.