Microfinance

There is lot going on in Himachal. Previous government awarded contracts without thinking, every nullah, small river, river catchments is being dammed in Himachal.

I wont blame government for all this. Its a matter of vision. Himachal’s topology is like that we can not have bigger industries there, other than Solan and Una areas all are hard to reach by road. Government tried to build railroad but I think a better visionary like Dr. E. Sreedharan is needed.

Again its for government leaders to go and ask people like these to come and plan something which can connect Himachal faster with rest of the world.

Even roads are in bad shape, not only due to environment but also due to corruption as whatever money comes only 10% of it is used to build the infrastructure. I wonder we keep on crying of poor health of infrastructre then why dont we build a movement to clean the system.

But again as we have this motto, lets not blame government, lets start doing something from our own.

One good example is micro financing.

Vikram Akula is doing wonders:

Please read about Vikram more here:

TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World

Few excerpts from TIME article:

Loaning a few bucks to third World entrepreneurs may not sound like cutting-edge banking. Indeed, microfinance might attract more investors, as “actorvist” Tim Robbins suggested at a recent U.N. gala, if it had a hipper name, like “MiFi” or “MiPod.” But Vikram Akula is using advanced technology—smart cards—to make venture capital available to more of the 800 million people in India who live on less than $2 a day. In the hinterland, where there are few landlines, let alone ATMs, the founder of SKS Microfinance is starting to dispense loans, typically $116, on smart cards, which its loan officers had been using to record repayments electronically. The plastic approach intrigued Visa International, which is now pairing SKS with cell phone-based card readers. The cash-free system is more efficient and safer too. As Visa’s emerging-markets chief, Debbie Arnold, put it, a cash-laden loan officer “might as well carry a big bull’s-eye on his back.” Akula, 37, has already made SKS one of the fastest-growing microlenders, having dispensed $52 million to 221,000 clients since 1998. SKS keeps its default rate below 2% by using software that provides real-time data. When he spots a red flag, he says, “we’re on it like a swat team.”

Swadesh pointed out 20 points to generate employment in Himachal, almost all of them could be micro financed!

Isn’t it amazing, we have great resources but we are utilizing them in bad way or not at all utilizing.

Now lets see which all points are easily utilized using micro financing.

2) Bio-Diesel: Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources.

CORN is the produce in HP which needs little or no attention at all. Almost all villagers back in HP are landowners, we need to find how much is the percentage. We can find how much land do they have, I grew up in village area and my maternal side had enough land to produce corn for our own consumption which was very less but also for animals. Strange, in US corn is daily breakfast!

Either we can have young guys/womefolks to take land on lease or grow it on their own land and micro financing is great help here.

All the below points need financing and small collective micro financing can do wonders.

I wonder instead of venturing into other areas, myHimachal group should focus on working on the very need of capital for local entrepreneurs.

3) There are thousands of Gharats (watermills) in Himachal.

myHimachal group is experimenting and exploring this avenue. One small water mill power plant wont cost more than Rs. 100,000/- and this can distribute electricity to 20-30 homes plus continuous supply to a small business. Whether that business is mushroom drying or herbal drying. Again micro financing can do wonders here.

4) There are some areas in Himachal e.g. Palampur those are very good for floriculture.

5) I read somewhere that last year India imported million tons of Kiwi fruit.

6) In late 80’s former CM Shanta Kumar had started a very nice scheme ‘ BAN LAGAO ROJI KAMAO’.

7) There are already many people involved in Handicrafts and they can choose this as a career.

8) Forests in Himachal are full of herbs.

10) These days’ people are crazy for adventurous sports such as Hand gliding, river rafting, camping, mountaineering, and skiing. Mountain biking etc.

Almost all areas up above Kangra district are worth tourism and to my wonder some of the best-known spots, which I use to visit during my teenage years, are not yet explored or marketed.

To prove the points about bio fuels and Micro financing, here are well proven and researched documents from Khosla Ventures, its run by Vinod Khosla, those in Himachal who don’t know him, he is the most successful venture capitalist and invest heavily and successfully in India and all over world and is founder of Sun Microsystems, the other company as big as Microsoft and sucessful, if thats what matter to people then!

http://www.khoslaventures.com/resources.html

An IT professional for 17 years, based in the US since the last 12 years. Founded NGO My Himachal and then Himachal Media Pvt. Ltd.. A Himachali forever. Always trying to bring together people whose hearts beat for the state.

2 Comments

  • Had an opportunity of interacting with Mr Akula , when he was at IRMA campus. Many alumni of our institute are working with him at SKS realizing his MF dream. Amazing personality and a true professional. SKS is growing fast and expanding thoughtout the country.

  • Lets all collectively find ways to generate employement in HP from our own resources, we have enough within the state and I am sure little fianancing would do wonders!

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