Swades Building Livelihoods
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Nobel Laureate And Magsaysay Awardee Muhammad Yunus On Redesigning Economic Process And Building Rural Independent Economy

Nobel Laureate And Magsaysay Awardee Muhammad Yunus On Redesigning Economic Process And Building Rural Independent Economy


  1. Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus called to build independent rural economy
  2. Mr Yunus suggests a people-centric economy instead of urban-centric
  3. Mr Yunus recommends investing with the micro-entrepreneurs
New Delhi: 

Coronavirus pandemic has impacted one and all but the people and households that have been impacted the worst are daily wagers, small farmers, tribals, and migrant labourers. The pandemic has also led to reverse migration but the struggle to earn livelihood remains unchanged for poor families. So how do we help them? Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Nobel Laureate and Magsaysay Awardee, suggests building a new institutional format, new ideas of building an independent rural economy.

In an effort to build livelihoods of over 15,000 most needy households (tribal, migrant/daily-wage homes and others, poorest of poor families) in rural Raigad and Nashik districts of Maharashtra, NDTV in collaboration with Swades Foundation, a non-profit organisation, has started a campaign Swades Building Livelihoods. Mr Yunus extended his support to the campaign and shared tips on how to build livelihoods and create the economy.

Mr Yunus called to build an economy where the people live; this way people will not have to leave their home at least for a survival level economy. For the same, Mr Yunus suggests three key initiatives, firstly, to have Ministry of Micro-entrepreneurs and said,

Rural economy should be an independent economy. And the people we are dismissing as informal sector, they are actually micro-entrepreneurs. They do things on their own. So, we should have a huge sector of micro-entrepreneurs and we should even have a ministry of micro-entrepreneurs.

Further, Mr Yunus emphasised on creating social business micro-entrepreneur bank and having its headquarters in the rural area. The financial institution will encourage micro-entrepreneurs to climb the ladder. Elaborating on the role of micro-entrepreneurs, Mr Yunus said,

Micro-entrepreneurs are the base or the foundation of the entire entrepreneurial pyramid of this country. So, on the top, you have the multi-billionaire dollar people and the entrepreneurs. Then in the middle, you have the multi-million dollar entrepreneur. In the bottom, you have multi-hundred dollar entrepreneurs. They are as significant as the multi-billion dollar because they are the beginning of their journey.

Social business microfinance institutions will help in eliminating loan sharking that often eats up the micro-entrepreneurs. Along with this, Mr Yunus suggests investing with the micro-entrepreneurs.

Any business can have joint ventures with the micro-entrepreneurs. They are business people, we are business people. We have joint ventures. But we are helping them to grow as we grow. So, it is a simultaneous thing, said Mr Yunus.

Thirdly, focus on women, said Mr Yunus as he believes women will change the world. He added,

If you can address them in a massive way you will see how the economy will grow and how things will start changing.

Before signing off, My Yunus stressed on building whatever similar institutions for the poorest people as we have for rich people.

Ultimate solution is to let people stand on their feet so that they can contribute, they can create their own worth, and they have enormous creative power. Creativity is not lacking anywhere. We have simply denied that creativity from coming out. So, we create institutions, policies. It's a reversal of the process that you want to do. And continue to do that as you go along, said Mr Yunus.

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About The Partner

About The Partner

Founded by Ronnie and Zarina Screwvala, the Swades Foundation operates with a single-minded focus of empowering one million rural Indians every 5 to 6 years. Our USP is a 360° intervention inside-out model of development, with a multiplier effect. Our holistic approach covers all aspects of individual and community development through 4 key verticals – Health and Nutrition, Education, Water and Sanitation and Economic Development. Our strength is our ~1,300 strong team comprising 1000+ community volunteers and 270 full time staff (FTE specialists and professionals); 90% FTE work at the grassroots, making us a strong execution foundation.