Mumbai based Credit Cooperative Society “Dharavi Sahakari Patpedhi Maryadit” was established in 1986 with the vision to provide financial assistance at low rate of interest to the poor mainly living in slum areas of Dharavi. As Dharavi had a bad image, banks were not willing to give loans to these people.
Narrating the interesting tale Adv. Pradip Kadam –the man who was first in the country to have dared to address the banking needs of the world’s largest slum recounts “At the time, I was in college studying but I decided to open a cooperative society to help these downscale people”.
Currently as the Chairman of Dharavi Sahakari Patpedhi Maryadit , Adv. Pradip Kadam told several interesting stories from the past- his struggle and subsequent victory in achieving his goal- to this correspondent recently in Mumbai.
Dharavi in the 80s was a squalid overcrowded inner city of Mumbai where masses of poor people eked out their living through leather stitching work. There was an urgent need to help these people as they were victims of greedy traditional money lenders.
In 1986 we had only 250 members and started a business with a mix worth of Rs 36 thousand and then we started giving loan of Rs 1000 or more to these peoples. Now we are having 6,000 members with five branches, Kadam added.
”After 10 years our business growth was on the upswing and in the last financial year our turnover was Rs 25 crore giving us a net profit of Rs 20 Lakhs. We have nearly 22 agents who are collecting money from these people”.
Kadam further said for empowering the women living in the Dharavi region, recently they have started a Group loan Scheme in which they make a group consisting of four women and give them each a loan of Rs 15,000 without guarantee,” he said to this correspondent.
Asking for the support of the Government, Kadam said the GOI should give some preferences to these cooperative societies as they are working at the grassroots level catering to the needs of the poorest, he noted.
”We are getting favorable responses from the people as they are happy with our work. We have also set aside a reserve fund to help the poor people at the time of emergency like death, he remarked.