G. Nagaraja

Unique experiment draws the attention of top brass from the banking sector

Daneswari Kisan Bank celebrates second anniversary

It turns down offer of extension of farm credit

DUVVA (West Godavari Dt.): This tiny and low-profile delta village adjacent to the Kolkata-Chennai National Highway-5 in Tanuku mandal of West Godavari district beckons the who’s who of the banking sector for its unique experiment in the banking field.

A small group of farmers from the village have given a new meaning to the concept of banking by floating the “Daneswari Kisan Bank” a year ago with self-help as its motto. The self-help concept here is being followed in letter and spirit.

Reversal of roles

And when the bank celebrated its second anniversary on Wednesday, the unique concept naturally drew the top brass from the banking sector and the administration.

They included G. Veeraprasad, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), and R. Shankara Rao, Lead District Manager, and a senior official from the Department of Agriculture. In a reversal of roles, farmers made these officials listen to their concept in rapt attention. They politely turned down the offer of R. Shankar Rao, Lead District Manager, for extension of farm credit to them saying they were aiming at self-reliance in all respects.

Small beginning

This ranged from extension of interest-free credit, production of seed and supply to the farmers in their village, procurement and even the marketing of farm produce. Initially, the bank was started with 72 members in the village. Another bank was launched with 92 members after a year following a massive response.

The members saved amounts ranging from Rs. 50 to 100 each every month which was utilised for internal lending to the extent of Rs. 1,000 per member. The members produced seed for self consumption even as their counterparts outside the bank’s fold felt the pinch of seed shortage and spiralling prices.

“This year, the bank has increased the scale of credit up to Rs. 7,000 per head,” a beaming K. Kumar Swamy, the man behind the banking concept told The Hindu.

He said, in all, six Kisan Banks were in operation in Jangareddigudem, Tanuku and Unguturu mandals with a working capital of Rs. 18 lakh accumulated in a span of four years in the form of thrift by the members.