More than 80% workers in India work in the unorganized sector and get paid in cash. They lack formal documents of identification, address and income. The inability to produce adequate documentation often keeps the poor out of the formal financial system, even when they are credit-worthy. The lack of clear land titles and property deeds further exempt the poor from availing mortgageable housing finance from banks and housing finance institutions. MHT bridges this visible gap in access to finance among the poor, especially women, and enables creation of assets in their name.
MHT incubates loan products for water, sanitation and housing finance and offers microloans to poor families to improve access to housing and infrastructure. It lends for constructing toilets, improved water and wastewater disposal facilities, and home improvement and construction. MHT also experimented with a unique microloan product to finance property tax backlogs. This has cleared the way for families to secure legal water and sanitation services in slums in MP, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
MHT has promoted credit cooperatives in Surat and Vadodara districts of Gujarat. Both the cooperatives have an empowered women’s board with members representing from various skills and trades. The co-operatives specialize in individual loans as well as loans disbursed through Self Help Groups (SHG) and Joint Liability Group (JLG) models. In both Surat and Baroda, the credit co-operatives run profitably and have expanded to two other districts of Gujarat as well. The co-operatives have attained ‘A’ grade in audit for the last 10 years.
Our advocacy efforts are towards ensuring access to financial products and services by vulnerable groups. MHT has served as a member of the National Task-force on ‘Housing Finance for the Informal Sector’ and the ‘National Level Committee for ‘Housing Micro Finance Companies for the Poor’ in 2009. MHT’s work has led to infrastructure and housing nance being recognized as part of productive loans for asset creation.
I took a loan of Rs 10,000 to construct a toilet in my house. MHT after assessing my repayment ability agreed to monthly installments of Rs 1000. In 10 months, I was debt free and had a new toilet.
MHT’s efforts have been successful in our slum. They solved all our account related problems and helped us understand the transaction method. This ensured the right use of the funds received for the program.