Capital: New Delhi
Area: 3’287’263 km²
Population: 1.416 Billion (2023)
Language: India has two official languages, Hindi and English. Further recognised regional languages are: Assamese, Bengali, Boro, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Kokborok, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu
Currency: Indian rupee (INR)
Geography: India is the seventh-largest country in the world in terms of area. The Indian peninsula is separated from mainland Asia by the Himalayas. Landscape and Climate: The Country is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south. The entire country has a tropical climate marked by relatively high temperatures and dry winters.
EMF Exposure in Asia: 21.4%
India is currently the country where the EMF Microfinance Fund has the biggest exposure. In November, the EQ senior management took a due diligence trip to meet our vast portfolio of microfinance institutions in the region. Visiting different microfinance and nonbanking financial institutions as well as end borrowers enabled them to confirm the extensive reach of these financial institutions within the portfolio and the level to which they are supporting the local businesses, especially those within the rural communities.
One of the end borrowers they had the pleasure of visiting is Meghana, who currently resides in Avverahalli, a village located in Ramanagara district of Karnataka, with her husband and two children. Meghana worked as a daily wage laborer, which meant that there were days she would go back home after a long day’s work with very little to show for all her efforts. Looking to earn a more stable and additional income for her family, she decided to start selling fresh milk, but first she needed the money to purchase a dairy cow. Saggraha Management Services Private Limited (Saggraha), a group entity of Save Solutions Private Limited (EQ investee), was the business correspondent company that helped Meghana qualify for a loan from the State Bank of India, the largest public sector bank in India. She took out a loan of INR 50’000 which amounts to USD 617 and topped up INR 5,000 from her own savings to purchase a cow.
She takes really good care of her cow, which in turn gives her plenty of milk that she sells to a nearby dairy farm at INR 30 (USD 0.37) per litre. The average milk her cow produces per day is around 6–7 litres, which puts her monthly earnings at INR 5’000 (USD 61.7) to INR 6’000 (USD 74). The loan has improved her family’s income levels tremendously, and her husband who works as a driver transporting goods to nearby areas is beyond impressed by her fruitful business venture. She even told all her friends and family about Saggraha and the ways in which they helped her improve her family’s quality of life so that they can all benefit, just like she did.
Gopal, another end borrower that the EQ team had the opportunity to visit, is the proud owner of a successful power loom business. He currently employs 3 people who work alongside him, producing artificial silk sarees and selling them to stores in Bangalore. Gopal, who learnt the art of weaving from his late father, used to work as a casual laborer in a local power loom factory. His love for the work, which started at an early age pushed him to start his own business. Having heard of Saggraha through one of his friends, he decided to try his luck. Thanks to his passion and professional background, he qualified for a loan of INR 500’000 (USD 6’200), which he used to purchase 2 power loom machines and raw materials for his business.
Through hard work and determination, his business grew steadily, enabling him to purchase 4 more power loom machines. His business currently makes a monthly turnover of INR 300’000–400’000 (USD 3’700–4’900). Through this loan, Gopal has managed to create a comfortable life for himself, his mother, his wife and their two children. However, he is not done yet and is working hard to grow his business even bigger. The sky is the limit, Gopal!