Credit sources for additional income are predicated on providing loans for and facilitating agriculture allied activities for poor farm labourers in drought-prone areas, especially women, which include cattle rearing and dairy business, poultry farming, and other small business like tuck shops’ refreshments, etc. The dependency on money lenders has remarkably reduced with women now saving funds in the form of fixed deposits etc. for future purposes like old age care and weddings of their children.
In 1994, RDT helped establish a Women’s Bank at village level called Women Development Fund (WDF) which is a credit facility for higher borrowing by women, implemented and controlled by women themselves. Every village was initially given Rs. 20,000 as principal amount to be deposited in a fixed deposit. Each area has 4-5 clusters and each cluster has 10 villages. 2 women from the cluster manage the bank account with the CO maintaining the bank statements and ledgers. Loans are interest-free and are approved by ATL, STL and women network leaders. RDT is in the process to handover the fund management to women leaders and book keeping training is also provided to young boys and girls. RDT adds contribution to the principal amount if it gets reduced due to no repayments, dying of cattle or a natural calamity etc.
By the end of March 2015, 17,291 rural women had availed a total of Rs. 19,43,53,453 crores in recycled loans from the WDF corpus.