Bengaluru-headquartered CreditAccess Grameen, a non-banking micro-finance institution which focusses on providing credit to the needy for toilet construction and water connection has disbursed over 11.26 lakh loans since its inception in 2010-11.

Udaya Kumar Hebbar, Managing Director and Chief Executive of CreditAccess Grameen told BusinessLine that an in-house feasibility study showed that lack of hygiene and poor sanitation were the main reasons for poor health conditions in rural areas.

To address this issue, CreditAccess began the drive against open defecation by creating awareness and funding for sanitation and water connection. “We remain committed to creating a Swachh India by enabling access to safe water and sanitation facilities.”

CreditAccess has disbursed loans worth ₹1266.50 crore since inception to March 31, 2019.

“The effort has started to pay off. We have reached out to more than 2 million clients not just across the rural pockets in Karnataka but over eight States. We ensure hassle-free repayment and provide the loan at affordable rate,” Hebbar added.

Stating that banks view funding for such (sanitation) projects more as an expense than an income-generating proposal, he said “we see this as a need-based, preventive loan for the BPL families. It creates a stream of benefits for the borrowers by reducing their medical expense and income-loss due to ill-health. Effectively, it has helped improve the living standards of such people.”

Low-cost toilets

The loan size is kept at ₹15,000 and the company has taken efforts to train over 15,000 masons to build low-cost toilets.

The micro-finance institution has started providing funds for house repair too.

“The challenge at present is for water. We are planning to start “save water” campaign soon as sanitation has reached most villages,” he said.