Paliganj: A bank with a difference provides grain on loan to poor Dalit women in Paliganj in Bihar. It saves them from the clutches of upper caste moneylenders.
If a loan is required, the bank simply lends grain to the women. This unique idea has brought about a revolution among the Dalit population in rural Bihar.
The women, mostly hailing from extremely poor families, were neck deep in the debt trap of local money lenders till the grain bank concept was floated. Around 2,000 Musahar Dalit ladies joined the wagon to set up the unique bank.
It provides grains on loan to needy Dalit families who had to hitherto depend on rich farmers and moneylenders in times of crisis. Here, every family deposits 1 kg of grain every month.
What started with an initial stock of 55 kg grain, today has a deposit base over 6,000 kg. The family borrowing wheat and rice has to pay 1 kg grain as interest for every 5 kg while for extremely poor borrowers, it's interest free. They also donate food grains to families free of cost in the event of any death or physical disability.
The innovative bank has not only instilled confidence among women folks of the Dalit community but has also rescued them from the clutches of moneylenders. No wonder songs of happiness and prosperity flows naturally there.