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  • 1. Enterprising Ladakh Prosperity, Youth Enterprise and Cultural Values in Peripheral Regions Working Paper No 8 Microfinance by Mayank Lunawat Sourabh Deb Center for Development of Corporate Citizenship S P Jain Institute of Management & Research Mumbai July 2005 Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society Drukpa Trust in association with SECMOL
  • 2. Preface This Working Paper was prepared as part of an 18-month project entitled ‘Enterprising Ladakh’. The Paper seeks to identify economic opportunities available to Ladakhis – especially young Ladakhis - in local, national and international markets. The findings will be discussed at a Workshop in Leh in July 2005, with the objective of identifying economic activities that Ladakhis themselves consider feasible, acceptable and appropriate within Ladakhi society and values. Subsequently, the project team will scope the skills and attributes required to access the preferred market opportunities, while the final stage of the project will outline a new school curriculum to impart enterprise-related skills and motivation to young Ladakhis, alongside traditional teaching of cultural and ecological values. ‘Enterprising Ladakh’ is a project being conducted by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society and Drukpa Trust, in association with SECMOL. The findings set out in this Working Paper are the work of Mayank Lunawat and Sourabh Deb of the Center for Development of Corporate Citizenship, S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai. The work was carried out under the supervision of Professor Jiban Mukhopadyay, Professor M. S. Rao and Professor Nirja Mattoo (Chair of the Centre for Development of Corporate Citizenship). You are kindly invited to communicate your views on this Working Paper to the project team: Project Coordinator 'Enterprising Ladakh' Hemis Complex, Zangsti Leh, Ladakh -194 101 Phone: +91 94191 77536; 252 133 This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society and Drukpa Trust, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union. 2
  • 3. Glossary DDA - Desert Development Agency DIC - District Industries Centre DPKES - Druk Padma Karpo Educational Society DRDA - District Rural Development Agency DWLS - Druk White Lotus School J&K - Jammu & Kashmir LAHDC - Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council LEDeG - Ladakh Ecological Development Group NABARD - National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development NGO - Non Governmental Organisations PIA - Project Implementation Agency SBI - State Bank of India SECMOL - Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh SHG - Self Help Group 3
  • 4. Introduction A silent banking revolution is taking place in India. Microfinance is slowly spreading its wings and affecting the lives of millions of poor. It has till now put more than Rs. 39 billion in the hands of 16.7 million families and helped them to improve their life. On one hand, there are poor people with a huge need for credit which can also aid in capital formation. But they need small amounts for their small needs and are also unable to provide any guarantee for their credit worthiness. One another hand, banks have realised a huge latent untapped demand by poor people, but are hesitant to lend to them because of the high cost of lending small amounts to the poor and also not being sure of the credit-worthiness of such poor people. Microfinance and Self Help Groups (SHGs) take care of such needs. Poor people are coming together now to improve their living standards. After the successful examples of such models in Bangladesh, people in India are also coming together and forming Self Help Groups. They have realised that instead of depending on external parties to come and help them, it is they only, who have to come together to help themselves. Microfinance is one of the sectors under the project “Enterprising Ladakh” which is supposed to act as a means of support to the other sectors rather than the end in itself. This area would act as an infrastructure service for other business sectors. It would primarily be a support service to other economies prevalent in Ladakh. Hence, the focus on microfinance aspects concentrated more as development of an infrastructure facility involving both governmental and more of non governmental support and initiatives. After understanding the existing structure of microfinance in the region, the need for entrepreneurial activities even in the field of microfinance was realised and hence new opportunities were explored to induce entrepreneurs in the field of microfinance. For this, people from various walks of life were interacted with to find out the feasibility of ideas generated. Methodology Adopted: The study was conducted in two phases as under: Phase I - Preliminary Study in Mumbai We did a preliminary study for a period of 10 days in Mumbai before embarking upon a field study in Ladakh. 4
  • 5. It was realised that the basic necessity is to understand the concepts and the present policies being implemented in other regions of India before applying them to the hilly terrain of Ladakh. A study on the various ground-breaking cases in the field of Microfinance such as the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh model and SEWA Bank model in Ahmedabad, India, was first done. Then Mr. Sukhdev Singh, Director of NABARD, was approached at the Mumbai office. There Mr. Mathews, Officer, Micro Credit Innovations Department, detailed us about the various aspects of microfinance and the policies being framed and steps being undertaken by NABARD in the field of Microfinance. He provided great insight and also agreed in extending special facilities to Ladakh region if after the study he is convinced of the special requirements of the region. Phase II - Field Study in Ladakh Upon completion of the preliminary study in Mumbai, we conducted a field study for a period of 4 weeks staying in Ladakh. In Ladakh, the study was split into four parts: Visit to and interaction with various NGOs involved in the field of microfinance, who act as catalysts in formation of a SHG and inducing the people to generate savings. Interaction with government officials involved in upliftment of the poor such as the offices of DRDA, DDA and Employment Exchange. Interaction with bank officials operating in Ladakh, as they provide the necessary finances. Meeting the common people who actually are part of various SHGs formed. To actually understand the effectiveness of SHGs, visits were even made to SHGs located in far off border area villages such as Pun-Pun, Nemgo and Laga in Durbuk block and Phey village in Leh. After completion of the field study, various ideas were thought upon and discussed with both governmental and non governmental people to understand their feasibility and applicability to the hilly terrain of Ladakh. . Findings of the study: After studying the scope of microfinance in Ladakh, the following findings were made: Owing to extreme agro-climatic conditions and topography, which offer limited livelihood opportunities, Ladakh has the lowest population density in the country: 3 people per sq. km. in Leh District (total population – 1,18,000) – All India Average – 347 people per sq. km (total population – 1032.9 million)– 2001 census However, population figures have been rising very rapidly over the past thirty years, with steady decennial growth rates of over 30%, resulting in more than a 5
  • 6. two-fold increase: from 1,01,000 (1971 census) to 2,33,000 (2001 census). All India Annual Average Population Growth Rate – 1.7 % – 2001 census With a total of 112 villages in Leh District, Ladakh’s population is predominantly rural. However, urbanisation is proceeding at a rapid pace, especially in Leh District, where the urban/rural population ratio has almost doubled in the past 20 years: while only 13% (8,700) of Leh District inhabitants were city based in 1981, they were more than 23% (28,000) in 2001. Literacy figures show a tremendous increase in the past decades, from 16% in 1971 to 62% in 2001, which is higher than 50% State average (Anon., 2001b) The sex ratio (no. of females per 1000 males) is 805 in Leh District. In line with its predominantly rural characteristics, Ladakh’s main economic sector is irrigated agriculture and livestock rearing, which employ over 70% of the workforce, including cultivators, agricultural labourers and herdsmen. Other main sectors of Ladakh’s economy are trade and commerce, employing 2.5% of the workforce in Leh District, construction (1.8%), manufacturing & processing (1.5%), transport (1%) and household industry (0.8%). Employment by the government, the armed forces and the tourism industry are the major sources of livelihood, presumably occupying most of the 22% workers. Banks operating in the region - State Bank of India (4 branches) {Lead bank} J&K Bank Ltd. (10 branches) J&K State Cooperative Bank (1 branches) J&K Land Development Bank (Non Functional) J&K State Financial Corporation (Non Functional) Bank to Population Ratio Population served per branch is approx 8461 (All India average 14000) “Still banking network cannot be termed as adequate” – SBI Annual Credit Plan Report 2004 for Leh region. Drivers and Processes in this Sector The major drivers in the field of Microfinance are as under Self Help Groups NGOs The NGOs act as catalysts in the formation of a SHG. They act as PIAs for DRDA and DDA. SHGs are formed under watershed development programme of DDA and rural development programme of DRDA. The SHG then start their operation by depositing a fixed sum from its members which is generally then deposited in the bank. After monitoring their financial activities for approx 6 to 12 months they are then given subsidy and a bank loan. The DRDA also asks various other government department to prepare project report in the area SHG wishes to do business and then recommend the SHG to banks for a loan which is partly subsidised by DRDA. 6
  • 7. DDA also operates in a similar manner except that it does not refer for bank loans. It disburses fund through NGOs. Challenges Owing to the typicalities of the regions, the following challenges were faced in the areas of Microfinance which are unique as compared to the rest of India. The common people are self sustained people. They grow their own food, own cows and yaks for milk and farming activities and have sheep for wool. Consequently the economic indicators of low per capita income as such do not present a true picture of the economy. In villages, barter economy is still predominant. Normally, the money earned through sale of local products to tourists and army contributes directly towards their savings rather than being used for consumption purposes. The microfinance challenge in the region is to mobilize their saving and to put it for productive purposes. Dimensions of Microfinance and SHGs The following are the various aspects in which SHGs have affected the lives of the people in Ladakh Employability SHGs are an excellent source of employment for women folk and provide them with economic freedom. Women are undertaking various entrepreneurial activities such as apricot products making, Goncha making, rugs and carpet weaving, etc. They have led to economic upliftment of approximately 5,000 households and still have a potential to provide employment for balance 12,000 household in the rural sector. They have also generated savings of approx Rs7.5 millions in the region. Equal opportunity They allow women to take independent decisions. At present 3 women have been nominated as Panchayat heads, though no one has yet contested in elections. As an extension, now more women are seen contesting in Panchayat (Village Authority) elections to be held in July 2005. SWOT Framework We then applied the SWOT framework to analyse the prospects of Microfinance in the region: Strengths 7
  • 8. Effective Reach: - There are about 468 SHGs operating in the region serving approximately 4,817 households out of the total 24,147 households in Leh district. Even in the far interior villages of Pun Pun, Nemgo and Laga in Durbuk block and Phey in Leh Block, such SHGs have found to be in existence and functioning. Helps a lot in the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society: - Savings is the first step towards improvement of the economic situation of any society. As discussed earlier, the savings of the Ladakhi people are considerably higher than the rest of India, chanelising it properly can help considerably towards their upliftment. Prevents local people from exploitation: - though local people are simple folk and are not being harassed by the upper sections of the society as was prevalent in the rest of India during independence, economic upliftment does protect the local people from any sort of exploitation from the outside world e.g. tourists, outside businessmen, etc. People have faith in it: - Interaction with common people whose life has been affected by SHGs and even NGOs and government officials have reiterated their faith in the SHG concept. Very Successful: - considering the amount of people being affected by the SHGs in Ladakh as compared to the All India Average of 2.5 % reach and the faith of the people in the system, SHGs have proved to be very successful in the region in generation and channelisation of microfinance. Weaknesses Still considerably away from reach of banks: - The linkages of banks and SHGs is still a major issue in the region. The banks still do not have any particular scheme for SHGs. The financing activities of the banks in the region is mostly confined to Central/State sponsored Schemes/Programmes and limited to non-farm sector activities. However banks do lend to SHGs who come with schemes and project reports, as approved by DRDA. This is done on request of DRDA, which is government agency. Apart from this no special incentives/concessions are available for SHGs. Tedious and lengthy processes of documentation for loan approval: -Since no special concession exists for SHGs and the present structure of loan approval is tedious, many SHGs are unable to tap the opportunities that come to them in the way. SHG people have to travel through rough, difficult and long terrain to come with documents for loan approval but the cumbersome processes of bank documentation lead to many for them leaving the approval processes in midway. As a result, opportunities are lost. When spoken, bank officials said the rules for approval comes from down plains (read Delhi/Bombay Corporate Offices) and they do not understand the typicalities of the regions and are apply them on an All India basis. Also staff shortage and staff transferred from other regions who are not accustomed to their culture and climate do not find enough incentives to aggressively lend. Lack of Competition among banks: - Presence of only 3 banks - State Bank of India, J&K Bank Ltd. and J&K State Cooperative Bank does not provide enough 8
  • 9. competitive climate to banks to aggressively lend or frame special policies to compete with each other. The lending pattern is as under – (figures as on March 2004) • State Bank of India (4 branches) - Rs. 110.9 millions • J&K Bank Ltd. (10 branches) - Rs. 212.7 millions • J&K State Cooperative Bank (1 branch) - Rs. 68.4 millions Mutual distrust leads of failure of the entire SHG: - In spite of people being humble, many instances have been found where mutual distrust has led to failure of SHGs. Distrust is a negative aspect of human nature and NGOs are supposed to spring into action to prevent the group from breaking up in case such unwarranted situation arises. Do not consider new business opportunities: At present, the following are the major activities undertaken by SHGs which also generates income and savings: • Potato/Pea cultivation • Savings • Apricot Drying (Osmotic Dehydration) • Apricot Jam • Vegetable Osmotic Dehydration • Pickle making • Tomato Puree making • Potato seed • Apricot oil extraction • Dal packing In general, people in the region do not undertake any new activity because of the fear of risk and losses. Any activity is undertaken only when it is successfully proven by someone else. Who will become the first such person is still an issue among them. Stereotyped thinking in business: The business model and scale followed by one person is followed by all blindly. People do not consider or wish to consider new and innovative ideas until and unless it is successfully proven by any other organisation. An example of this can be considered from Spunsum Yargias SHG, which produces rugs and carpets in spite of not knowing their market actually. Last year, 2004-05, they produced approximately 20 rugs and carpets, but were able to sell only 6 of them. Still they are interested in producing more, not considering the marketing aspect of their produce. This is because the SHG in the next village is also doing so. Opportunities More funds available with banks for lending: - The credit deposit ratio of all banks operating in Ladakh combined is 11.33% as compared to national average of approx. 50%. Credit / Deposit Ratio banks wise - • State Bank of India - 6.5% • J&K Bank Ltd. - 14.7% • J&K State Cooperative Bank - 22.5% 9
  • 10. This gives the region a wonderful opportunity to this region to borrow more for their genuine purposes. Also, the NPA rate in this region is less than 1 %, giving an incentive to banks to lend more. If people can come up with new business proposals, banks would be willing to lend more. As per SBI Annual Credit plan – “The low CD ratio reflects the low credit absorption capacity of the district with its low population and limited economic activities.” Hence there exists immense potential for people to borrow from banks Government giving a thrust to this sector: - The Ggovernment of India is giving a thrust to the Microfinance sector. Various new schemes are being framed to provide people with various opportunities in this sector. Year 2005 is being celebrated as the International Year of Microcredit. The apex bank in the agriculture sector, NABARD, has framed various schemes for the benefits of SHGs and Microfinance. They are providing training to various NGOs and SHG coordinators working in the area of Microfinance. Government ready to finance any business opportunity: - DRDA is a governmental organisation committed to improving the living conditions of the rural people. Any scheme by them is financed by the banks. DRDA by itself has also organised 21 SHGs involving 206 women and 10 men. DRDA and DDA also provide subsidies upto 50 % of loans to SHGs depending upon their requirements. Also a revolving fund of Rs.10,000 is also provided towards the capital of SHGs. However, at present, only one scheme i.e. Rural Self Employment Scheme, known as Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), is being implemented. This is a holistic programme covering all aspects of Self Employment like Credit, Training, Infrastructure Facilities, Technology, Social Mobilisation, Group Formation, Monitoring and Recovery, etc. Protective policies of government do not allow non-Ladakhis to set up business: - Upon an interaction with governmental organisations and trade unions, it was realised that non-Ladakhis are not treated favourably in business. This is an opportunity for Ladakhis to come up with new ideas and business plans to improve their standards of living. Pashmina, Agriculture and Tourism provide immense opportunities and are Ladakh’s USP: - these three sectors are uniquely positioned in Ladakh and provide immense and untapped opportunity to the local Ladakhi people. The economy of Ladakh is majorly driven by these three sectors and a modest thrust to these sectors can develop immense opportunities for business and consequent requirement of funds among the people. Threats Stereotyped thinking of people with regards new business risks: - Discussion with the common people and various governmental, bank and NGO officials revealed that the local Ladakhi people are not much business-oriented. They are self sufficient. They grow their own food and live in a simple barter economy. Hence, there is not much desire of money in them. This nips any entrepreneurial thought in the bud even if it might come to them. This has also 10
  • 11. made them averse to undertaking any business risk. The fear of loss is too highly place in their mind to permit them to undertake any new venture. Herd mentality of people to follow the same business model once it is successful: - Since the local people are averse from undertaking any business risk, a herd mentality exists. If one person buys Mahindra Scorpio to run as a taxi, immediately many others will follow suit. Waves exist in any new business idea. What is done by one is followed immediately by all. Hence people do not have an USP and are competing against each other all the time. Recommended Plan of Action The major focus of this study on Micro-Finance and its analysis is to seek opportunities and devise ways and means in such a manner that the balance 89% of funds (CD ratio 11%) lying idle with banks could be put to use for productive purposes, giving a boost to the economy. Also, it should give an impetus to entrepreneurship activity in the region. Considering this objective, the following recommendations are suggested to achieve the same: Identification of new businesses which mingle well with present social and cultural structure of Ladakhis – new businesses such as Manure business (which is presently unorganised), Data Collection Agency (there is a pressing need of such an organisation as no plans can be made in the absence of data), can be considered and given thrust to. At present, government organisations such as DIC and banks do make business proposals and plans for traditional businesses in the region. Business plans can be thought and made for such new businesses and mad available to the public so that some people may come up to take it. If necessary, government could support it by becoming their customer in the initial phases. Introducing competition between the banks so as to compel them to devise new ways to pump more money into the Ladakhi economy. The three banks now existing have made low targets for themselves and have over-achieved them. Lending Structure Lending Performance vis-à-vis targets (all banks) : • Agriculture - 117% • Industries - 38% • Trade/Services - 124% However the CD ratio remains as low as 11.33%. There is a need to publicise the low CD ratio of the banks and also the wide discrepancies among themselves. Credit / Deposit Ratio banks wise • State Bank of India - 6.5% • J&K Bank Ltd. - 14.7% • J&K State Cooperative Bank - 22.5% 11
  • 12. This wide spread publicity through widely read magazines such as Melong should be done in such a manner that the higher level officers of these bank get to see it. Along with the name of the bank, it is suggested that the name of the branch manager should also be published. This might push them to innovate news ways of aggressively lending so at to improve their lending performances. It might happen that instead of people now running behind banks to get loans, banks might be found running behind prospective customers to lend them. Such a technique had been used in publicising the results of the government schools of Ladakh and has proved to be considerably successful in improving the education levels in governmental schools. Another possibility exists in the form of organisations or bright entrepreneurs coming ahead to act as intermediary between banks and local people. Such people/organisations can help the local people (borrowers) to complete procedural formalities in a speedier manner. Such people/organisations would work on a commission basis on the amount of loan which they would charge from the borrower. The borrowers would be more then happy to pay such commission to agents as this speeds up the process and also saves them from the hassle of undertaking long and treacherous journeys again and again from their villages to Leh town. It also speeds up the process and helps them to get loan disbursements faster. Such commission agents are found in cities like Mumbai too as they speed up the entire loan disbursement process saving time of people and providing them with money when borrowers actually need it. Introduction of Credit Guaranteeing Commission Agents which would guarantee the repayment of loans to banks. The bank officers who come to Leh branches come from the plains on a deputation of two years. They are mostly worried about loans going bad and doubtful recoveries. Also, the villages are far off and the approach path to them is difficult and treacherous. Hence, they do not wish to lend to people whom they do not know or who stay in far off places. Such people form the majority of borrowers, who have to return empty handed. If such commission agents can come into existence, they can play a powerful role in changing the lending scenario, so that banks can lend without security from the borrower. Such an agency can charge a fee both from the bank and the borrower. For the bank offices it would be like getting a guarantee for zero bad debts, for which would they would be paying a small fee. For the borrower, since s/he would be able to get a loan which otherwise would not have been possible, s/he would be happily paying a fee. Establishment of a Ladakhi Cooperative Bank can be a booster to the economy of the region. Such a bank can be formed with local Ladakhi people who would be well poised to address the typical problems of the region. One typical problem of the region which is still not address is the winter month interest payable by the borrower, when there is no productive activity, but interest still has to be paid. Such a regional bank may be well capable of addressing such an issue. Encouraging private entrepreneurs to establish NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) would also be a possible way to address the unique requirements of this region. Since they would be local businessmen, they would be more than willing to lend money at easier terms to localities rather then being interested in lending 12
  • 13. outside the region. Also, small individuals can also start an NBFC, while a Cooperative Bank needs a large amount of resources to start. Considering the high per capita income and savings of the region, other private and public banks could be invited to start their mini-branches/extension counters in Ladakh in the initial phases. This may increase the competitiveness of the banking environment. The above suggestion could be implemented in the following phases: Timeline for implementation of recommendations Recommendation Instant Short Term Medium Term Long Term Implementation Implementation Implementation Implementation (0-3 months) (3-6 months) (6-12 months) (1-2 years) Identification of new business Introducing competition between the banks Documentation commission agents Credit Guaranteeing Commission Agents Ladakhi Cooperative Bank Encouraging NBFC Inviting other banks POLICY LEVEL SUGGESTIONS Based on the above, we would suggest the following policy compact: Frame policies relating to establishment of NBFC and Cooperative Banks; Publicise such policies and invite entrepreneurs to set up the same; Prepare project report on the new business (as suggested above) and publicise about the same; Establish a Ladakhi Cooperative Bank from local people; Invite other private and public banks to start their mini-branches/extension counters in Ladakh in the initial phases, which can later be converted into full fledged branch. 13
  • 14. CONCLUSION Microfinance has immense potential. It allows the poor to approach the banks and seek loans. The performance and repayment of these have been more than 95% on time for these SHGs. The banks find it a profitable venture because it gives them the benefits of lending at normal rates, with a 95% guarantee of repayment. It is much higher than lending to the corporates. Not only this, the size of the micro-finance market is huge and is vastly untapped. Poor people have ideas but until now have been unable to convert them into businesses because of lack of funds. Microfinance gives them an opportunity to stand up on their own feet rather than depending upon other donors to improve their standard of living. It also gives them a sense of self-esteem, confidence and motivation to grow. From the social aspect also, it is desirable as it remove economic inequality in the society and bring about equity. Such a movement subsequently leads to growth of the entire nation. Ladakh has also foreseen the advantages of SHG and microfinance and consequently embraces the concept. It has also spread like a wildfire and achieved great success in the region. With growth comes many operational difficulties and gaps appear. The time has now come for Ladakhis to identify these gaps and fill them so that the system runs smoothly and contributes towards their economic well being. 14
  • 15. References & Bibliography State Bank of India Annual Credit Plan 2004-2005 for Dist. Leh (State J&K) Discussions with Mr. Nurbu, DRDA Discussions with Mr. Gyalsan, Chief Project Officer, DDA Business Activities undertaken by 11 SHGs organized by Leh Mahila Mandal Discussions with Mr. Ghiyasu, LEDeG SHG-Bank Linkage Programme for Rural Poor – An Impact Assessment, by V. Puhazhendi & K C Badatya Commercial Aspect of Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India, by Dr. Hans Dieter Seibel & Harishkumar R. Dave The Role of Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in Preventing Rural Emergencies in India, by Kim Wilson Linking Banks and Self Help Groups in India – An Assessment, by Dr. Erhard W Kropp & Dr. B S Suran Promotion of Self Help Groups under the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme in India, by Malcolm Harper Progress of SHG-Bank Linkage in India 2003-2004, by NABARD HASIAEXT/INDIAEXTN/0,,menuPK:295609~pagePK:141132~piPK:14 1109~theSitePK:295584,00.html
  • 16. ear_update.php CCODE=IND&CNAME=India&PTYPE=CP List of people interviewed Mr. GM Sheikh, Project Co-ordinator Mr. Hasnain, Co-ordinator Dr. Ishey Namgyal, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer Mr. Jigmet Takpa, Convenor – Vision Committee / Project Director – LREDA Mr. Sonam Wangchuk, Head, SECMOL Mr. Sonam Dawa, Head, LEDeG Mr. G Nima Nurbu, Project Officer, DRDA Mr. Nurbu Gyalsen, Project In charge, DDA Mr. Rinchen, Officer, SBI Lead Bank Branch Mr. Abdul Rashid, Area Manager, J&K Bank Mr. Eshey & Mr. Nazir, Leh Nutrition Project Mr. Padma, Director, Rural Development & Youth Mayank Lunawat, Sourav Deb 16
  • 17. Acknowledgements Enterprising Ladakh has been a revelation, not just in terms of the project work, but also with regards to the living conditions, the climate and the culture over there. During our stay for a month, the absence of certain basic amenities that we take for granted back here at home showed us the true facet of human endurance and its vitality. The strength and grit of Ladakhis in the face of hostile climate and topography, made us realise the value of the comfort and ease of our own lives. We are honoured that we were given an opportunity to work in such an important project. We sincerely hope that our efforts bring in the desired result and contribute to the region’s economic development. We are thankful to Mrs. Nirja Mattoo, Chairperson – Center for Development of Corporate Citizenship for giving us this opportunity to work for development of Ladakh. The experience of working with senior officials of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, specially Mr. Jigmet Takpa has been enriching and has contributed to our own personal knowledge. We are also grateful to Prof. Jiban Mukhopadhaya and Prof. M.S. Rao for their timely intervention and insightful comments. Their ideas gave us a fresh direction to think about and hence contributed in making a study that provides a holistic view of the situation. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Md. Hasnain, Coordinator– Enterprising Ladakh for his support and encouragement. Without his guidance, it would have been difficult proceeding in any direction. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Ishey Namgyal, Chief Animal Husbandry Officer, LAHDC, Leh. He has been the perfect host and made our stay as comfortable as it could get. His contacts in the government circles helped us immensely in getting appointments and data, without which we would have been left in a lurch. We are also thankful to Mr. Philip Cornwell, Project Director and Mr. Sonam Wangchuk, SECMOL for providing valuable inputs on microfinance whenever we needed it and also evaluating the feasibility of our proposals. We are also thankful to Mr. GM Sheikh, the man who has done so much for the development of microfinance in the region. He was our guiding star on this project and also gave us a detailed head start for the project. We are deeply grateful to the people of Ladakh for their generous hospitality, assistance, and support and for having made our stay and work in Ladakh a memorable experience. Mayank Lunawat, Sourav Deb 17