Micro-finance services help people of northeast in New Delhi

     Micro- finance services are helping people from the north-eastern States who have ventured out of their region to other parts of the country to better their career prospects. Known as 'Banker of the poor', the Northeast Region Finservices limited (NEREFS) is helping small-scale entrepreneurs from northeast. One among the trader is Manipur's Liya Awungshi, who runs a variety store in South Delhi's Munirka area. She took a loan from NEREFS twice for Rs.30,000 and Rs.35,000. Today, she manages to earn about Rs. 1,000 a day. She is now able to take care of her family properly. "It is very difficult for people from the north-east to get a job, when they arrive in Delhi. So the initiative by NEREFS to provide loans to us is a good thing. I have really benefited and the loan has enabled me to expand my business and through this we get employment opportunities," said Liya Awungshi, NEREFS beneficiary. P.K. Gurung is another such person. Hailing from Sikkim, he was determined to make the best of available opportunities in the national capital. He opened a small shop 'Rosang' in Munirka. After taking loan from NEREFS for rupees 50,000 twice, he has managed to expand his business. He now runs a CD parlour, a travel agency and a grocery shop. "I came to Delhi for a job but I wasn't satisfied with it. So I started a small shop. Then I heard about NEREFS and approached them and took a loan of 50,000. With the loan I was able to expand my shop and now I am running the shop smoothly," said P.K. Gurung, a NEREFS beneficiary. Recently, NEREFS gave micro finance loans to 217 small-scale entrepreneurs belonging to various tribal communities of North Eastern States who today reside in Delhi. Over 25,000 people from northeast have benefited through this service across the country and there are over 500 people who are directly employed by the NEREFS. NEREFS has been supported by Punjab National Bank, along with other banks including Indian Bank, SIDBI, Axis Bank, ING Vysa. "Our main aim and objective is to provide financial support to the needy people who really want to develop their socio- economic status. Everybody wants to lead a prosperous life and without money it is difficult. Apart from providing financial support we are also providing employment to the youth who are already qualified. Nowadays to get government job is difficult, so we are providing employment opportunities," said Ram Lal Keshari, Director, Planning, NEREFS. NEREFS presently has 72 branches in 50 districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and also in Uttarkhand. It has further expanded to other parts of the country like Bangalore, Chandigarh, Rajasthan and Delhi. NEREFS targets the rural poor is acting as a catalyst to bring about a change in the socio-economic status of the people of northeast region of the country.

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