Rahul Gandhi to “learn” microcredit from Bangladesh under heavy security and in a few days

Posted on August 1, 2008. Filed under: economics, India, microcredit |

Rahul Gandhi, a possible future Congress PM candidate, has landed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, purportedly to “learn” micro-credit. He has been, and will presumably be provided with heavy security cover, and we hope he will learn it within the few days he can spare at maximum given the current political climate in India.
It is interesting to observe, that in India the first well known experiments in micro-credit were carried out by Rabindranath Tagore in then undivided Bengal of British India, and quite seriously followed up in early twentieth century under his initiative at Sriniketan (also the site of a whole range of initiatives of rural development and building sustainable communities) – the twin hamlet of Shantiniketan.
Perhaps in keeping with that tradition, the Chennai based Centre for Micro Finance reported that the micro-credit sector is growing at the rate of 82% in Eastern India, this being the fastest rate in India. There is significant disparity in the penetration of micro-credit within the region, (high levels in Orissa and West Bengal versus low in Assam, Bihar and and Jharkhand). The Indian parliament was very busy debating the N-Deal so it could not sit down and debate the proposed Micro Finance Bill 2007 and it is yet to be passed (controversy on issues including limiting the interest rate charged by the micro-credit institutions is probably even worse and much more serious than the N-deal and hence needs years of Parliamentary sessions).
In Rahul Gandhi’s electorally significant state of Uttar Pradesh, The Pragati Gramodyog Sansthan (PGS)—the Progressive Institute for Village Enterprises has helped hundreds of Kol families of under contractual, debt bondage tyranny of the quarry contractors. With PGS’s help, the Kol formed microcredit unions and could manage to obtain leases to quarries themselves. Additional assets such as a cow or a goat helped augment incomes. PGS has developed primary schools and dug wells.

In Rahul Gandhi’s own city of residence, the self help group “ASHA Community Health and Development Society”, an NGO working in health and development of slum dwellers of Ekta Vihar in Delhi has managed to procure Nationalized Banks support to provide loans at reasonable rates of interest to the slum dwellers.

Could Rahul-ji have thought about mixing pleasure with business in shuttling perhaps between organizing the rural Cricket competition and “learning” from the Kols in his own backyard?
For those interested in an excellent blog on the Indian micro-credit (one of my more “positive passions” – for those who might be depressed by my rants on the “negatives” of Islam and terror) scene look at Badri’s Microcredit blog.

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One Response to “Rahul Gandhi to “learn” microcredit from Bangladesh under heavy security and in a few days”

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Rahul Gandhi’s venture is GOOD in the sense that it is directed at helping our rural and suffering folks, SARCASTIC AND PARADOXICAL in the sense he has to beg and borrow from Bangladesh such a simple innovative thing. Or is it that that innovative micro-credit method of a great simple soul there is admired and awarded globally.

Anyway, it time to blend technology and tradition to fetch the best for our massess. Our missionary and visionary Kalam’s PURA has to be made a reality, not mere slogan. It’s ACTION that speaks, not SLOGAN.

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