Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
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Financial Inclusion Through Micro Pension
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In Ahmedabad,Gujarat,SEWA Bank has introduced a micro-pension scheme to extend old-age retirement benefits to women employed in the unorganised sector.

Sri Mahila SEWA Sahakari Bank was established in 1974 by a group of self employed women with the objective of "strengthening its members' bargaining power to improve income, employment and access to social security." The bank currently operates in 10 districts of Gujarat, and has also offered its services in a few other states. Besides offering basic financial services, the bank has gradually expanded its activities to include housing loans, insurance and pensions to women employed in the unorganised sector. The Micro-Pension scheme offered by SEWA in partnership with UTI is a pioneering initiative in India. SEWA Bank works with Unit Trust of India Asset Management Company (UTI-AMC), who are responsible for the investment aspect of the programme.

At present, any women up to age of 55, having a savings account with SEWA, can enrol in the scheme. This way, SEWA Bank deducts the monthly contribution from the individual’s savings account in the form of a systematic investment plan. The minimum contribution is Rs. 50 monthly or Rs. 500 annually. SEWA Bank then transfers the money to UTI twice a month through cheque transfer. UTI opens individual retirement accounts to facilitate investment UTI mutual funds, which is 60 percent debt and 40 percent equity. As a pension fund, members are eligible to withdraw money on attaining the age of 58. At that time, a member can either take the entire amount or opt to receive periodic payments through the bank.

In past five year, more than 60000 women from unorganised sector have enrolled in the scheme in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. SEWA Bank is currently promoting the initiative by organizing financial literacy camps in its operational areas.

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