Visit with Vijay Mahajan - BASIX Chairman

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
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Trip End Sep 27, 2008


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Flag of India  ,
Monday, August 25, 2008

I had the great privilege of meeting with a man who Niranjan describes as Mr. Microfinance of India - Vijay Mahajan  Founder and Chairman of BASIX.

Niranjan indicated that Vijay has been a great motivator to many emerging & committed microfinance program in India such as Nirantara, Nirmaan Bharati (which I am visiting in Lucknow), Arohan (which I am visiting in Kolkata), etc.

Vijay has been a great mentor to Niranjan who set up my visit with this extraordinary contributor to the world of helping alleviate poverty in this country that has the greatest number of poor people of any country in the world.

Here is the BASIX Logo and I encourage you to study it and read about its meaning.

Here is a link to the services of BASIX.  BASIX serves 1.6 million people (including 321,000 borrowers) and has 2,500 employees.

Over a private lunch in his conference room I asked him to share with me his story and approach. For the next hour and a half I had the privilege of being with a Master and the joy of learning from and interacting with him.

Here is some of what Wikepedia has to say about Vijay - "Vijay started work in rural economic development in 1981. In 1983, he founded an NGO, PRADAN. Today, PRADAN is one of India's more effective NGOs, specializing in rural livelihoods and micro-finance. It works with over 100,000 rural poor households.

Thereafter, in 1991, Vijay decided to work as an independent trainer, consultant and researcher and to focus exclusively on the issue of rural livelihood. Realising the need to attract mainstream financial resources, Vijay conceptualised the establishment of BASIX, which he founded in 1996. BASIX is a new generation institution devoted solely to promoting rural livelihoods. It is among the first micro-finance companies in the world to attract commercial debt and equity investments, both internationally and from within India."

When Vijay realized that he was not satisfied with existing programs he decided to strike out on his own and start by studying various other programs.  He visited Muhammad Yunus and studied the Grameen Bank Program.  He visited Fazle Abed and studied what BRAC was doing - both in Bangladesh.  He visited other countries and studied their models.

The result was he founded BASIX which became the leading edge and largest microfinance institution in India - but using a new and innovative model of providing services.  Those who are interested in the details of  BASIX's "Livelihood Triad" model are encourage to visit their website.

I was particularly interested in the "Financial Inclusion Services" and to be able to compare it to other forms of credit delivery - Grameen/BRAC models, SHG's, Cooperatives, etc.

Vijay spoke of how he feels that the Grameen Model is not optimal for India because most of India's poor work is involved with farming - which is different than in Bangladesh.

BASIX forms groups of people within a village that often  focus on a particular aspect of farming and these 4 to 6 people become part of groups that are responsible for each others loans if one member of the group can not pay.  Each members first loans are $200 and for a period of 12 - 18 months at 21% interest rate - declining balance.  The groups meet monthly and only for the purpose of making their monthly payments on their loans.  The groups of 4 - 6 do not particularly hang together or work as solidarity groups - even though they must cover for each others loans if one does not pay.  What actually happens is that if one member is unable to pay on time - other members loan this person the money for that payment -which is later repaid.

In the "Livelihood Triad" BASIX provides lots of other services and support particularly to the farmers.  These other programs are central and critical to the BASIX program which provides much more than just credit.

Vijay and I discussed the Progress out of  Poverty Index which is being promoted by The Microcredit Summit and Grameen Foundation USA.  Vijay indicated that Mark Schreiner, the head of the statistical model is both a very competent statistician and very knowledgeable and in tune with development programs.  Vijay indicated that the Indian Government Statistical base on poverty statistics is very good (that really amazed me) but that Indian politicians have corrupted the system by adjusting the line of who is and is not in poverty as a political tool to get elected.  BASIX will not be using the PPI.

Vijay requested that I return to BASIX on another trip when I have more time and that he would like to personally take me to the field to experience the BASIX programs.  What a privilege that will be.

He also accepted my invitation to be a video conference guest lecturer on the programs that I am creating to the University of California Social Business Institute and/or the University of California at Santa Barbara Social Business programs.  Vijay has done this with other American Universities and considers this a time and cost effective way to share this work.
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Comments

sonmani
sonmani on

Thanks
Hi Martysb

first of all thanks so much for this addition. I have worked for BASIX is past . Mr. Mahajan is an icon,and larger than life figure . Its great to read about him and his work.

Mahanteshwar on

Hi
sir very well appriciated work you had done in india ie you following the great personality lke Dr. Albert Schweitzer & Bunker Roy ,& now Basix is going on top and i hop it will achieve its all goals & here i am also joining to this organisation same time i am also following you &Dr. Albert Schweitzer & Bunker Roy.
you are an role model for me to be a good respectful person in the society
Iff you want to contact me to this e mail id mante_79@rediffmail.com
Thanking you

santosh kumar gouda on

hi..
good afternoon, i am santosh ku gouda, a part of basix financeal .
This is real very helpfull to rural people,i am leading in our vllage to promate lifehood promation.
people were very satisfed with basix services.
i am providing services through "jana seba kendra" or csc ,
can u cantact me cell-9583297307 or mail address (sgouda4@gmail.com)
thank u sir.

Bharat bhusan bhoi on

How can i work with ngo in odisha , kindly refere me ASAP.

santosh kumar gouda on

respectfully sir
i am s k gouda gunthapada vle of csc
in our grampanchyat basix doing well throuth csc
sir in future vle can come with company payrool
now basix paying very low amount of money vle
now does internet connection donot provide as ,in our own interest we are getting net connection,so my request please provide internet fecilitys as soon as possibety.
santosh ku gouda
cell-9583297307
sgouda4@gmail.co./santosh_csc@sify.com

basix on

hii

LEPAKHI on

Dear Sir

Your aim towards reach the needy people is very appriciated. But some of the people in your organisation spoiling the culture and values. Please try to understand and try to solve as early as possible.

lakshminarayana on

Dear sir

I have mailed you what is happening in your organisation, i feel that you can get some useful infirmation to regenarate the the values and culture of your organisation. But you have send the message to wrong person

lepakshi on

if you need some more infirmation you may contact me or you can mail me
My mobile no is 9866917232, as your HR dept had given me the Expirience and reliving certificate so now i can give you any kind of infirmation any how i am mailing you all the details soon, Please try to read the mail as i don't have time to write allthings in this limited space.

lepakshi1967 on

Are you accepting only appriciation? With your hardwork around 10000 employees life is attached with your ambition. Are you not care them.

lakshminarayana on

Many happy returns of the day sir.

bhikshapathy on

it gives us an immense pleasure to see the graph of Basix India always moving upwards in true terms, but the hard earned money being gulped by the person like Bijoy M.R, (I.T Manager), having full of ego... ! and the way he takes his commission is very typical in evthay I.T product purchased,and inspite of that he wont remain sympathitic,

though he was just working as a sales executive at Alliance Prosys, once he understood the environment at Basix, he got changed and without taking commission he wont execute even a single order, we request to remove the person like him...!

chandrudu on

respectfully sir
i am Chandrudu, a part of basix financeal .
This is real very helpfull to rural people,
people were very satisfed with basix services.
thank u sir.

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