~ Women’s World Banking will provide technical and policy advisory support to UMED-SRLM
~ Under this partnership 5,000 BC Sakhis will be identified and trained across the state and will create a pathway to bring 25,000 BC Sakhis into the banking and livelihoods programs
The Government of Maharashtra signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Women’s World Banking, with funding support from MetLife Foundation, to operationalize and strengthen 5,000 SHG women to become Business Correspondent (BC) Sakhis. BC Sakhis will provide banking services at the last mile in rural areas of Maharashtra. This effort is to achieve the vision of ‘One Gram Panchayat (GP) One BC Sakhi’ under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM).
Under this MOU, Women’s World Banking will provide technical and policy advisory support to UMED to operationalize the BC Sakhis in Maharashtra. This will include identification and recruitment of BC Sakhis, designing training, mentoring, and supervision framework to make them bank-ready; serve as a liaison with supply-side stakeholders like financial institutions and corporate BCs and designing replicable and scalable strategies and policies for the Government to make BC Sakhi a sustainable and viable model. UMED will be able to scale this program to 15,000 BC Sakhis in the first phase and then to a total of 25,000 for the entire state by 2025-26.
Speaking at the event Dr. Hemant Vasekar, (I.A.S.), Chief Executive Officer, Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission said, “Rural Maharashtra has a vibrant SHGs ecosystem that has strong women who contribute to the state's economy. It is critical that they have bank accounts, save regularly, and adopt other social security products and services for their financial empowerment and resilience. The creation of this cadre of women agents placed in every Gram Panchayat will ensure that the low-income customers, particularly women, will have access to a relationship-oriented agent from their own community and hence positively impact their uptake of formal financial services.”
Mr. Parmeshwar Raut, Chief Operating Officer, Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission, said, “Women's World Banking's experience and expertise in designing for women's financial inclusion will help UMED create a scalable pathway and vibrant movement of about 25,000 BC Sakhis, who in turn could financially empower millions of low-income women in Maharashtra. Further, the intervention will help women adopt digital financing and improve their credit and transaction history, which will ultimately increase their ability to access affordable loans and be eligible for other digital financial services. I would also like to thank MetLife Foundation for partnering with Maharashtra SRLM for this noble intervention.” Mr. Dhanwant Mali, Under Secretary of the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission was present at the event as well.
Kalpana Ajayan, Regional Head-South Asia, Women’s World Banking, said, “Low-income women manage their money through a variety of methods including informal loans and savings. BC Sakhis can play this pivotal role to ensure more low-income women in Maharashtra have access to financial safety nets like government payments, savings, and insurance to help them mitigate, cope with, and recover from shocks and stresses without compromising future welfare. We are proud to associate with UMED-Maharashtra Rural Livelihood Mission to strengthen the capacities of BC Sakhis, help them increase their own incomes, and help build a “cash-light” SHG ecosystem in rural Maharashtra. We will draw upon our women-centered design approach and experiences from our work with various Public Sector Banks.”
In an online statement made by Mr. Ashish K Srivastava, MD & CEO, PNB MetLife he commented, “As more women agents have support to become successful entrepreneurs, they will be able to provide affordable banking services at the last mile. MetLife Foundation is proud to partner with the Government of Maharashtra and Women’s World Banking, in this initiative that will not only benefit women entrepreneurs, but also millions of low-income customers who will now be able to access affordable, high quality and targeted digital financial services at their doorsteps.”
Under the DAY-NRLM, BC Sakhis will work as representatives of leading banks and corporate business Correspondents (CBCs) in the county to provide much-needed doorstep banking services such as account creation, cash in-cash out services, micro-insurance, pension, and various other services to a million underserved women from low-income backgrounds and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the State of Maharashtra. Being a banking agent will also be a source of livelihood for the BC Sakhis.
In India, Women’s World Banking has been operational for over three years and has partnered directly with financial service providers including small finance, public sector, and payment banks — to design women-centered products and improve product penetration within low-income women segments like Jan-Dhan and SHGs.
UMED Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission (MSRLM) was launched as an independent society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, to implement NRLM in the state. The mandate of the mission is to reach out to 45 lakh rural poor households of Maharashtra and engage in ways to pull them out of poverty. UMED employs diverse strategies towards poverty eradication, which include social mobilization, institution building, convergence, and resource block strategy through promotion and scaling up of homegrown and other models and partnerships.
About Women’s World Banking: Women’s World Banking designs and invests in financial solutions, institutions, and policy environments in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities. With a Global Network reach of 61 financial services providers in 34 countries serving more than 136 million women clients, Women’s World Banking drives impact through its scalable, market-driven solutions; gender lens private equity fund; and leadership and diversity programs. womensworldbanking.org.
“UMED”- The Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission (MSRLM) was launched in 2011 under the aegis of the DAY-NRLM. The objective of the Mission is to reduce rural poverty in Maharashtra by creating and strengthening community-based institutions, which would function as pathways to sustainable livelihoods of the poor. The Mission is being implemented in 351 blocks in 34 districts in the State of Maharashtra. To learn more visit?www.umed.in
“MetLife Foundation” - At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to driving inclusive economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities around the world. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and provide grants aligned to three strategic focus areas – economic inclusion, financial health and resilient communities – while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has contributed over $900 million to strengthen communities where MetLife has a presence. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.MetLife.org.
“PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited” - PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited (PNB MetLife), one of the leading life insurance companies in India (Source – CRISIL), has as its shareholders MetLife International Holdings LLC. (MIHL), Punjab National Bank Limited (PNB), M. Pallonji and Company Private Limited Jammu & Kashmir Bank Limited (JKB), and other private investors, with MIHL and PNB being the majority shareholders. https://www.pnbmetlife.com/