Micro finance helping poor in rural Assam

Dispur, Dec.22 : A micro credit scheme is helping people in the rural and interior areas of Assam to reshape their socio-economic conditions by empowering them.

Srimoni Das is an economically independent woman hailing from the Bhoalpara village in Kamrup district of Assam.

Srimoni took a small loan from a Micro Finance institution named ASOMI with which she set up a poultry business.

The business earned her ample money and she is able to support her family that includes her husband and four kids.

Srimoni has now invested her profits in handloom business and bought weaving looms to make the traditional 'Eri Chadars'.

"My family income increased after taking a loan from ASOMI. The loan has turned out to be a great help. Earlier, we had financial problems, but now I am happy and financially sound," said Srimoni.

Primarily, the scheme aims to empower women by providing them with seed money to start their own ventures.

The beneficiary after availing the facility for a pre determined period of time is supposed to pay the principal amount along with a meagre rate of interest to the Micro Finance Institution. There are many MFI's in the northeast region, which disburse loans to the enterprising poor and needy. Both private and public banks support these MFIs.

ASOMI is one such institution that was established in 2002 and has been able to benefit more than 26,546 families in the region since its inception. It operates in the villages through its various programmes such as Self Help Groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups (JLGs), Enterprise Development Loan, Urban Micro Credit, Dairy Loan and Agriculture Transportation Loan.

"The entire ASOMI plans to reach 2 lakh homes by the year 2012 and it should be a brand name to every home. Apart from the micro finance schemes we also have a dairy plant where we process milk that we procure from our borrowers and sell it under the brand name of ASOMI," said Subra Bharali, chief executive officer, ASOMI.

ASOMI has 54 branches and provides employment to 214 persons. In past the MFI has also won several awards for rendering its services to the rural people.