Several banned militant groups have successfully launched microfinance schemes in North East India to woo the local population and blunt the counter-insurgency operations initiated against them by security forces.
The United National Liberation Front (UNLF) is one such organization that has microfinance operations in the northeastern state of Manipur. The UNLF is a banned organization that has been waging an armed struggle against the Indian state since 1964 for the establishment of an independent socialist Manipur.
It began it’s microfinance schemes more than 4 years ago and currently reaches out to more than 2500 entrepreneurs and women in rural parts of Manipur state. The scheme has been successful because of the lack of private or government-supported microfinance schemes in these areas.
Called Phunga Maro, the microfinance scheme is aimed at local entrepreneurs who can avail loans of up to Rs 4000 from the outfit on which they are required to pay an interest of Rs 1 per day. Seeing the success of UNFL other militant outfits in the neighboring state of Assam too have started microfinance operations to consolidate their support base.
NDTV has a detailed video report on these organizations and their microfinance schemes below.
MILITANTS ENTER MICROFINANCE SECTOR IN MANIPUR, NORTH EAST INDIA