The first cooperative bank managed by women is born in Rajasthan

The first fully female-run financial institution in the cooperative sector is established in Rajasthan following a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government of Telangana’s Stree Nidhi Credit Cooperative Federation. The new organization will empower women by supporting their businesses.

The Rajasthan Mahila Nidhi will be installed on the lines of the Stree Nidhi in Telangana. The MoU was signed between Rajasthan Grameen Mission Director Ajeevika Vikas Parishad (Rajeevika), Manju Rajpal and Stree Nidhi Managing Director, G. Vidya Sagar Reddy, in the presence of Minister of Rural Development, Ramesh Chand Meena.

Mahila Nidhi will strengthen women’s self-help groups in the state by extending the timely loan facility for their businesses. The institution will be entirely managed by women and will act as a complementary body with the formal banking system. It should also bring down the number of loan applications pending at banks.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced the establishment of a bank run entirely by women during his 2022-23 budget speech to the State Assembly earlier this year. Mr. Meena said women’s economic empowerment would be boosted by the establishment of Mahila Nidhi and they would get loans to start new businesses and meet the financial needs of self-help groups.

The institution will receive a grant of ₹50 crore from the state government in the first two years of its operations, while a proposal has been sent to the Center to provide a grant of ₹110 crore. In addition, Rajeevika will contribute ₹10 lakh to each of the 561 cluster-level federations as social capital in a phased manner.

All Rajeevika cluster-level federations will be members of Mahila Nidhi, which will be launched in 15 districts in its first year of operation. The institution has been launched in six districts – Karauli, Alwar, Kota, Dungarpur, Rajsamand and Jodhpur – with immediate effect.

Ms. Rajpal who described the establishment of Mahila Nidhi as a milestone in the state’s cooperative movement, said she would disburse loans up to ₹40,000 within 48 hours and unlock credit in the amount of higher within 15 days.

Virginia S. Braud