Vijay Mahajan graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. In 1983, he founded Pradan, an NGO engaged in promoting livelihoods for the rural poor. In 1996, he founded the Basix Group. He is Chair of the Board for the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, a global microfinance body and a member of several committees for the Government of India. Vijay co-authored The Forgotten Sector, a book on the rural non-farm sector in India. He was written over 100 articles on rural development and microfinance.
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- South Asia, India
BASIX Social Enterprise Group
BASIX is the first MFI in India and among the first in the world to attract commercial equity investments internationally and within India. By successfully lobbying for changes in the Indian regulatory policy framework, BASIX helped create a viable institutional space for MFIs in India. BASIX's mission is to promote a critical mass of opportunities for the rural poor and to attract commercial funding by proving that lending to the poor can be a viable business.
BASIX tailors its lending techniques and distribution channels to different customer groups and arranges technical assistance and support services for its clients. It aggressively uses IT applications to process large numbers of transactions and support innovative delivery channels, such as franchise agents using hand-held devices to serve poor borrowers. BASIX does not confine its loans to the landless poor and self-employed as do most other MFIs, but rather argues that most of the poorer population groups prefer to be employed. Thus, providing credit to the micro-enterprises that can employ them is as important as providing credit to the poor themselves. Studies show that on average, the income of BASIX borrowers increases 20-30% in 2-3 years, and that they also generate substantial wage employment for others.
Based in Hyderabad, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, BASIX has approximately 250 full-time employees, mostly in rural districts, and over 400 village-based customer service agents reaching +7,500 villages in more than 40 districts in nine Indian states. BASIX works with nearly 95,000 borrowers, including women in self-help groups (SHGs) and federations. It has cumulatively disbursed over 137,000 loans worth +US$ 33 million, 41% of which are loans to SHGs. BASIX’s pioneering work with SHGs and its advocacy for microcredit have been two of the factors that led Indian banks to extend over $44 million worth of microcredit to more than 12 million rural poor women since 1998.