Chandra Shekhar Ghosh

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Chandra Shekhar Ghosh was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Chandra Shekhar’s inclusive microfinance initiative is aimed at those whose levels of poverty place them beyond the reach of most mainstream microfinance services and who have never before been included in the microfinance movement. 
Through his innovative pro-poor program, launched under the aegis of Bandhan, Chandra Shekhar is demonstrating that the poorest of the poor can also benefit from financial services. His program, which he calls “Targeting the Hard Core Poor,” tracks those at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder, helps them to develop the skills they need to manage local enterprises, and supports asset creation through grants. Bandhan’s clients are landless, assetless women, most of whose incomes are less than Rs 2,000 a month. Instead of depending on outside fundraising, the program relies on the surplus income generated by Bandhan’s regular microfinance programs.
His lending methods are unusual because they focus on the individual, rather than the group lending methodology used in most of India. This helps it to serve its poorest clients in a highly personalized and efficient manner, while achieving branch profitability, an industry benchmark. The focus of the program, according to Chandra Shekhar, is to strengthen the physical, social, and human base of the destitute so that once they have completed the initial asset-building phase, they may begin to build sustainable livelihoods and benefit from mainstream development programs.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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