Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) - Empowering Women in India

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN029
Case Length : 09 Pages
Period : 1970-2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Self Employed Women's Association
Industry : Service
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Overcoming Hurdles

SEWA organized people in the same trade and used their collective bargaining power to buy raw materials at a lower rate. It also provided credit to the co-operatives to cover the various costs which included raw material costs, wages, marketing, etc. In order to increase the productivity of the workers, SEWA introduced new tools or modern methods of doing things. In the early 1970s, SEWA Bank acted as an intermediary between the SEWA members and the nationalized banks and enabled the depositors of SEWA Bank to get loans. At the beginning, the nationalized banks charged 9-16% interest, but this was decreased to 4%, following SEWA's lobbying with the government.

In 1976, the SEWA Bank started giving loans from its own funds, and it gradually withdrew from the credit arrangement with the nationalized banks. By February 1976, SEWA Bank had a working capital of Rs.1,044,932 (USD 123,000). SEWA also started 'mobile banking.'The bank officers visited slums or rural areas and the women did transactions then and there. A recovery team was appointed to remind members who had availed of loans to repay on time. The loan repayment rate of SEWA Bank was 92-95%...

Future Plans

Since its launch, SEWA has been extremely successful in improving the socio-economic conditions of self-employed women in India. Now it aims to provide more facilities to its members through the use of information technology. SEWA plans to use computers in the STFC for handicraft/textile tracking and data-base needs. SEWA has also signed an agreement with local companies to design and develop tailor made software and training programs for SEWA members. SEWA is planning to invest Rs. 360 million to set up a production facility, 'Apparel and Accessories Park' in Ahmedabad with a capacity of 2,000 apparels a day.


Exhibit I: Objectives of SEWA
Exhibit II: Structure of Co-Operative
Exhibit III: Growth of SEWA's Membership in India
Exhibit IV: Members of SEWA
Exhibit V: Types and Number of Member Cooperatives of the Federation


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