Access, Redressal & Finance in Uttar Pradesh

The Future of Finance Initiative at Dvara Research and Khabar Lahariya, the award-winning rural digital journalism platform, bring to you a six-part video series on “Access, Redressal & Finance in Uttar Pradesh”. With a focus on the rural and small-town geographies of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, in this series we attempt to map consumer journeys in finance: from understanding people’s needs, and the realities of access and redress in finance amongst the different communities identified in Uttar Pradesh. These stories of evidence will also unpack how gender, caste and income levels impact the access for various groups, examining the structural barriers often sustained by socio-cultural practices and mindsets.

In this first video, we follow tribal women in the town of Manikpur, Uttar Pradesh who are managing the shocks to their income due to the COVID-19-induced national lockdowns. The closure of railway services during the lockdown has directly affected their earnings, as they take these trains to sell the wood that they collect to various nearby towns and use that money to finance household expenditure. How have they experienced the recent months? How have they managed the shocks to their household finances? Have they been able to access state support to tide over these difficult times? Some answers, and many questions are raised from our first video in the series…


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Followed by the release of the first episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed the need and access to finance of individuals from the tribal communities of Manikpur with Mr. Arun Sharma, DBT Mission Cabinet Secretariat and Ms. Kavita Bundelkhandi, Khabar Lahariya, in a conversation session.


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In this second video, we follow women farmers in the villages of Uttar Pradesh to understand the barriers they face in accessing finance despite having the same occupation as their male counterparts. This video reports that women farmers are responsible for 70% of the workload on a given farmland, but only 12% of these women legally own this land – fully or partially. Government relief schemes announced for women farmers also have limited effect and reach in improving their access to finance. 15th October of every year is celebrated as Women Farmers’ Day, or Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas across the nation to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of the women workforce in Indian agriculture. However, is this celebration enough? Does this ensure that women farmers have equal rights to the land they work on? Does this provide them the same financial stability and freedom in accessing finance as male farmers? Does this enhance their status as a decisionmaker both inside and outside their households? Some answers, and many questions are raised in this second video of the series…

 

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Followed by the release of the second episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed the prevailing conditions of landlessness and financial independence of women farmers in Uttar Pradesh with Sulekha Singh, MAKAAM and Meera Devi, Khabar Lahariya, in a conversation session.


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In this third video, we follow migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh who returned to their domicile during the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. This video finds that upon their return, most labourers struggled to find employment opportunities. It also reports that government schemes announced to support low-income households during the pandemic have had limited reach, at the last mile. In the absence of employment and social security, how have these households been meeting their expenses? How have they been accessing finance to meet contingencies during the pandemic? Will the labourers have to migrate back to the cities for meeting their financial needs? Find out more in this third video of the series…


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Followed by the release of the third episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed the financial condition of migrant labourers from UP who returned to their domicile during the lockdown with Aaditeshwar Seth, Gram Vaani, Sultan Ahmad, Gram Vaani, Prof. Amit Basole, Azim Premji University, Geeta Deevi, Khabar Lahariya, in a conversation session.


In this fourth video, we follow members of the transgender community in Uttar Pradesh who recount their personal experiences of how they are regarded in the society, and how this impacts their access to social and financial security. This video explores the kind of difficulties they face in their interactions with government systems, for example, while applying for national identity documents like the Aadhaar, a document upon which several welfare deliveries are dependent. The video also explores the economic hardships that the community had to face when their sources of livelihood were affected by the pandemic induced lockdowns. As the government in Uttar Pradesh considers creating a welfare support scheme for the community, what is it that they should be mindful of? Is it easy for the members of this community to interact with government officials? Do they have readily available bank accounts? Will only monetary support help them get to financial well-being? Find out more in this fourth video of the series…


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Followed by the release of the fourth episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed the experiences of the
transgender community in UP with society and its impact on accessing social and financial security with Ms. Anjali Gopalan, the Naz Foundation and Ms. Nazni Rizvi, Khabar Lahariya in a conversation session.


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In this fifth video, we follow different farmers in rural Uttar Pradesh to understand the frequency and magnitude of incomes they earn from agriculture. The video also discusses the diverse welfare schemes that have been rolled out to support farmers by both Central and Uttar Pradesh State Governments. The video raises questions about the suitability of the design and delivery of agricultural credit and highlights that debt waivers are often asymmetric. Despite several welfare schemes and delivery mechanisms designed for farmers since a very long time, why are farmers reporting lack of receipt of benefits? For a nation that is considered agrarian, why are farmers unable to reap profits from their agricultural activities? Is the Kisan Credit enabling the farmers as imagined? Find out more in this fifth video of the series…

 

Followed by the release of the fifth episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed the suitability of the design & delivery of agricultural credit to different farmers in rural UP with Medha Kale, PARI, Anil Kishore Mishra, Bundelkhand Farmers Union & Geeta Devi, Khabar Lahariya in a conversation session.

 

In this sixth and final video of the six-part series, we follow the self-help groups (SHGs) that are organised and run by women in rural Uttar Pradesh to understand how SHGs assist women and their families in achieving financial security. The video explores why women participate in SHGs instead of using other forms of financial management to save money. This report also tries to understand the attitudes of the women’s family members in a context where various social norms often tend to limit women’s financial agency. How do women cope when they find themselves unable to contribute to the SHG’s savings in a given month? Despite the reasonable success of the SHG model, why are SHGs limited to women participants? Find out more in this sixth video of the series…

 

Followed by the release of the sixth episode, Anubhutie Singh, Dvara Research discussed how SHGs that are organised by women in rural UP assist women & their families in achieving financial security with Rupali Shinde, Mann Deshi & Meera Devi, Khabar Lahariya in a conversation session.