ACTIVITIES OF THE TRUST
MAJOR ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE TRUST DURING THE YEAR:
I. NABARD Supported Projects
1. Rural Sanitation Programme
Known as ‘ArogyalayYojana’. NCT has been promoting SHGs since 2001 for NABARD and DRDAs. The SHG movement started by NABARD has created a visible awareness with respect to health and sanitation in rural areas. Women SHG members are empowered by this movement. NCT has taken up sanitation and plantation of trees as main social activities through SHGs since 2003. NCT conducted a survey of its 8600 SHGs during 2007 and found that 87% of SHG members do not own a toilet and they were eager to build one, if the required money is made available. The reason for not owning a toilet was mainly that of lack of resources. Over 70% says that they could not construct toilet with the existing source of income or construction of toilet is not a priority with existing source of income. Almost every woman member of SHGs demanded ‘low cost, affordable loan’ for this specific purpose as, they are the worst effected by not having a toilet. It is also found that open defecation is very embarrassing to adolescent girls besides causing health hazards to one and all.
NCT tried hard to convince the Bankers with whom the SHGs are linked to provide loans specifically for construction of toilets. NABARD’s specific circular dated 26th March 2008 was also used to convince them. However, even for the local banker, providing loan for sanitation was not a priority. Between 2006-2009 only 1386 SHG members of NCT promoted SHGs could construct toilets from routine bank loan. NCT approached NABARD and other lending institutions for low cost fund in the form of soft loan for on lending to SHGs. Again here also, except NABARD, other lending institutions were not understanding the entire issue and declined the request or such loaning do not exist in their loan portfolio and nobody from the senior management was ready to take a decision.
NABARD’s positive response for this noble cause, encouraged NCT to approach it for support to 8500 SHG members. With NABARD’s senior officials’ suggestion and guidance, the Secretary of NCT visited many organizations in south India for understanding low cost toilet models. A low cost, conventional type toilet was developed by NCT’s engineers with opinion and suggestions for SHG members. Here also it was noticed that no SHG member would like to try low cost, new model from the ‘loan’ which they were about to get from NCT. Everyone is of the opinion that the ‘new low cost’ model should be given a 100% subsidy. As there was no subsidy available, NCT stuck to ‘acceptable low cost’, conventional, regular septic tank model which costs around Rs 12000.
During March 2009, NABARD sanctioned Rs 10 lakhs at a very reasonable rate of interest of 6% under its Rural Innovation Fund (RIF) for supporting 100 SHG members. Loans were given to 115 members (loan amount between Rs 8000 to Rs. 9000 and the balance was contributed as SHG members share). As agreed with NABARD the loans were given to SHG members at a reducing rate of interest of 12%. During this pilot, NCT thought that if the toilets are constructed in clusters, by their own engineers, the cost would be much lower than construction of individual toilets. However as individual SHG members wanted to construct as per their need, NCT dropped the plan of construction by the Trust and released loan to SHG members through their SHGs. It is found that SHG members are spending from Rs.20 to Rs. 25 thousand for construction. As a pilot 115 toilets were constructed. The demand for loan for this purpose was increasing day by day. NCT requested NABARD for up scaling the loan support. During February 2010, NABARD sanctioned Rs.50 lakh as 2nd loan for on lending to 500 SHG members in Nagpur, Wardha and Amravati districts. By this time NCT had quite a lot of understanding of rural mentality and thinking. This time, the SHG members to whom loan was sanctioned were asked to identify masons before release of loan. NCT trained the masons identified by the SHG members in the design developed and costing by it. A guideline was framed for constructing identical toilets by all members in various areas/districts. SHG members and masons have agreed to the design and the cost. NCT has trained over 160 masons till date in low cost toilet construction. By the end of June 2010, NCT released loan to all 500 members. Subsequently, NABARD has enhanced its support by Rs. 920.00 Lakhs (Rs. 100.00 Lakhs for Maharashtra and Rs. 820.00 Lakhs for Madhya Pradesh SHGs). The position of loan, its repayment and number of units supported up to 30/09/2018 is as under;
NCT has developed tailor-made software for maintaining the accounts and monitoring the funds. The highly positive part of the story is 100% members are repaying the loan regularly in EMIs and 100% toilets are being used by the families. NCT would like to support all its (around 60 thousand) SHG members who are in need of such type of sanitation loan, in next 5 years.
In this noble cause NCT has also partnered with an international organization known as FINISH (Financial inclusion Improves Sanitation & Health), a Public Private Partnership programme from Netherlands and India. FINISH had provided technical support, publicity and training support to NCT in this endeavor.