Kerala Women’s Development Corporation puts on an impressive show

The Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation, a financial services company established in 1998 under the Companies Act, has disbursed 480 crore in loans to 22,000 female beneficiaries over the past five years (as of January 31, 2021). The same period also saw repayments of 328 crore, indicating the health of its financing and lending system, an official spokesperson said here.

The state owns 91.85 percent of the company’s shares; the rest is held by the Center. Five years ago, when the current team led by KS Saleekha, chairman, and Bindu VC, managing director, took the reins, performance left a lot to be desired and even statutory audit had been on hold for so many years. years, added the spokesperson.

Health recovered quickly

The health of the business was quickly restored by systematically addressing key result areas, the spokesperson said. Avoidable costs, such as unnecessary advertising and hiring event management agencies to organize corporate functions, have been identified and eliminated.

The performance of the company tells a story of its own and presents a perfect model of profitable operation without wavering on its commitment to fulfilling its social responsibilities, he said. The company’s goal is to promote gender equality and build economic capacity, confidence and self-esteem among women, especially disadvantaged people.

“In an environment where government enterprises are seen as white elephants consuming abundant resources and accused of failing to deliver concrete benefits to society, the Company is a beacon of hope. The business metrics are very impressive and are a testament to the endless potential of the public sector, ”the spokesperson said.

PAT up to 22 times

Profit after tax (PAT) increased nearly 22 times (from 10.88 lakh to 237.33 lakh) during the four-year period from 2015-16 to 2019-20, while costs of operating, at about 16 percent of revenue in 2015-16, fell to about 9 percent.

Over the past five years, on average, the Company has disbursed loans amounting to 100 crore per year, while the corresponding figure for the previous five-year period (2011-2016) was around ₹ 29 crore.

Corporate initiatives

In addition to providing utilities such as hostels for working women, women’s shelters and toilets, the Company also operates a graduation school, organizes awareness-raising sessions on gender equality for various groups, popularize self-defense and security measures, distribute sanitary napkins to schoolgirls. , and actively supports women in start-ups by granting concessional loans.

Self-employment assistance is provided to tribal women, minorities, backward classes, registered castes and safai karmacharis (including ragpickers) with funding from various central agencies. Major initiatives include the Mithra 181 Women’s Helpline, College Women’s Cells, She-Pad Menstrual Hygiene and Distribution Program, She-Toilets, REACH Program, and Vanitha Mithra Kendram.

Loan disbursement channel

Bodhyam, a gender awareness program for the police, was launched in 2019. An advanced nursing skills improvement program started in 2020. The company has conducted several entrepreneurship and loan development programs and launched a transgender loan program in 2020.

In 2018-19, the National Scheduled Tribes Finance Development Corporation selected it as the loan disbursement channel and saw 2,640 tribal women trained and 30 lakh disbursed in the form of loans.

In addition to distress calls and requests for emergency assistance, Mithra 181 also handles requests for information, advice and guidance. The control room receives around 300 calls per day and has handled 90,000 calls since the start of the program in March 2017.

She-Toilet, the first of its kind

The She-Pad project covered 2.77 lakh beneficiaries in 1,524 government-owned and assisted schools. Incinerators for environmentally friendly disposal and storage cabinets are part of the project design. The Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) program began in July 2019 and had covered 800 schools before Covid-19 protocols forced the education sector to shut down.

The She-Toilet Project is the first such initiative across the country. At least 58 women’s toilets are currently operational in the state, including 26 in the state capital. The rinsing is automated and there are units for sale as well as the disposal of towels.

Vanitha Mithra Kendrams

Vanitha Mithra Kendram offers safe accommodation with free Wi-Fi, purified drinking water, canteen, towel vending machine, incinerator, locker, rooms, recreation areas and parking. In addition to 24/7 security, the Kendrams also offer taxi service and medical and emergency assistance. These Kendras operate in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayand and Kannur.

REACH (Resource Enhancement Academy for Career Heights) is a girl’s grooming center with branches in Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram. The program is tailored to industry specifications and an active placement cell helps students find employment.

The Integrated Skills Development Center aims for the holistic development of tribal women through vocational training and community intervention programs, in addition to operating a community kitchen and nursery. The Women’s Cell operates in 62 colleges with more than 6,500 volunteers and, in addition to addressing the concerns of female students, seeks to create a sense of social engagement among young people.

Mara R. Wilmoth