Issue Date: Nov 30, 2010
Ega Mounika was born into debt, lived in debt and died with debts. The college-going 20-year-old of Warangal’s Karimabad village immolated herself on September 25; three days later, she died.
“My daughter wanted to release us from debt,” said her father Laxmi Narayan who sustained burn injuries trying to rescue her. He owns a paan shop and always had debts, which is why no bank found him worthy of a loan.
So five years ago, when a microfinance institution (MFI) approached her mother, a beedi roller, offering a loan of Rs 10,000, Mounika was quick to say yes. She bought a sewing machine with the money, started a tailoring business, dividing her time between studies and the new machine.
“Things were fine for two weeks,” said Narayan, “then we began to default.” Loan repayment is usually weekly in microfinance.
Issue Date: Dec 31, 2010
Something is stirring in paddy fields across India. New seeds, new crop management techniques and newly minted food security policies are about to hit the countryside. Not all of the changes that are being forged in Krishi Bhawan, headquarters of the Union agriculture ministry, in the top-flight research institutions across the country, and in the boardrooms of leading global and domestic seed companies are visible as yet. But these policies could transform the country’s rice landscape, perhaps, in an unalterable manner.