Girata (MAHARASHTRA): Girata village, at first glance, looks pretty unremarkable. Just like any other village across the country.
But what is remarkable is that this is probably India’s only village that says it does not want a loan waiver.
But it wasn’t always this way. Until three years ago, farming was the only source of livelihood for each one of Girata's 250 families.
And many years of drought in the Vidarbha region ensured that all of them were deep in debt.
Then one day, Prakash Rathore got his fellow villagers together and convinced them to start a cooperative savings association.
Each member contributed Rs 100 a month and within a year all debts were paid off.
As the corpus grew, Girata's villagers applied for loans, bought buffaloes and a milk revolution was born.
Today the village has about 250 buffaloes that produce over 300 litres of milk a day.
The days of defaulting on debts for Girata village are long over.
"Five years ago, there were about 80-85 per cent of defaulters. Now there are no defaulters," the local SBI Branch Manager Shekar Natarajan says.
But there are big plans. The villagers have opened three stores in the nearby town of Washim where they sell milk and milk products.
What is perhaps the cream on top of Girata's bucket of milk is the fact that a company from Mumbai has approached the villagers asking them for a daily supply of 500 litres of milk.
That's the inspiring story of how a village has transformed itself into an example that can perhaps be emulated by other villages across the country.
"We are living on our hard-earned money. There can be nothing that is as satisfying and good for our self-confidence as that," the leader of Girata Savings Association Prakash Rathore says.