Editorial Team

A pioneer at offering financial products via kiosk banking across India, SAVE Society has received a financial grant for implementing the SAFAL Program (Swavalamban Assistance for Financial Literacy and Credit & Market Linkage) in partnership with SIDBI, an independent financial institution. Through the project, SAVE has adopted at least 120 villages, with 90 villages in Bihar and 30 villages in Jharkhand for the development & upskilling of micro-enterprises in various streams.

SIDBI’s role is to provide financial support for a pilot intervention, assistance for financial literacy and the credit and market linkage for SAFAL PROJECT is done by SAVE Society, for the adoption of the villages. It will also provide literacy training to 2400 livelihood entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs (LE/ME), including migrants, and ensure their credit and market linkages.

Project SAFAL takes into account the fact that rural entrepreneurship has an important role to play in the development of the Indian economy. Given that nearly 70 percent of India resides in rural areas, adequate funding and support can provide a thriving entrepreneurial atmosphere in these communities. The microentrepreneurs in rural and semi-urban areas are generally not aware of the importance of digital banking, CIBIL records, insurance, etc. It is crucial for them to learn how to keep proper records, cash books, inventory control, etc. Therefore, project SAFAL was conceived to address the said pain points in rural areas. Additionally, SAVE will provide entrepreneurs a hand-holding period of 3 to 6 months, so that they feel supported in growing their businesses.

Speaking on the development Ajeet Kumar Singh, President, Society for Advancement of Village Economy, said, “Millions of rural entrepreneurs in India don’t have access to any financial training or backing, and Project SAFAL seeks to address this issue. In fact, SAFAL will not only help in analyzing need gaps but in aiding entrepreneurs with improved learning environments and tools for personalized education across 120 villages. Through this project, our vision is to create financial literacy via training programs and handholding that will enable entrepreneurs to spread their wings and grow their businesses successfully.”

The impact of the SAFAL project will be analyzed for three to six consecutive months, post-training. The entrepreneurs’ business growth will be recorded, based on the scale-up, and monthly turnover. The candidates’ banking transactions will also help analyze the impact of the project. It will even monitor candidates’ loan track records (If credit linkage was provided). Lastly, the candidates’ psychological behavior change will be used to further analyze the impact of the project.

The project will consist of 120 batches with 20 participants each. The ratio of new entrepreneurs to the existing ones will be around 60:40, and at least 10% of the total participants will be migrants adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, 35% of the total beneficiaries will be women entrepreneurs.

SAVE and SIDBI have an old association, and both the entities have worked together in the uplifting of Customer Service Point (CSP). In 2016, SIDBI had sanctioned Rs 2 cr financial assistance to Poorest State Inclusive Growth (PSIG) and Business Correspondent Network Managers (BCNM). The training spanned 18 months, and the project was deployed in four states – Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Bihar, and a total of 346 successful training sessions were conducted in the PSIG states.

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