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Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd.

 

FAQ

What is USHA?
USHA refers to Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited, which is a financial cooperative of the sex workers in West Bengal.

When and why was USHA formed?
Usha Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited was established on June 21, 1995 in Kolkata with the aim to provide financial security to sex workers and secure educational and career opportunities for children of sex workers.

What is the Organizational Structure of USHA?
It is run by a board of 9 directors, all of whom are sex workers themselves. The directors are elected through a two tier electoral system and hold office for a term of 3 years. It has a workforce of 47, of which two-thirds are women employees. Older sex workers and daughters of sex workers are given priority in recruitment. 

Were there any problems during and following the inception of USHA?
Yes, initially there were a lot of issues. The West Bengal Cooperative Department were initially reluctant to grant sex workers the right to establish a cooperative due to one of the many stigmas attached to sex work at that time(i.e. sex workers were not considered to be of good moral character; moral character of its members was a prerequisite for the formation of any cooperative).

What are the Goals of Usha?

  1. Voluntary membership
  2. Democracy of members
  3. Member participation towards Economic Growth
  4. Self-rule and Sustainability
  5. Education, Capacity building and Awareness
  6. Networking with other cooperatives
  7. Collectivization

 

When were the branches of USHA opened?

Name of Branch

Year of opening

Kalighat (Kolkata)

2004

Dinhata (Coochbehar)

2010


What are the Rules for admission?
The rules of admission are:

  1. Potential members must belong to the sex-workers’ community.
  2. It is necessary to register the name of the member for which a sum of Rs.15/- will have to be deposited (Rs.5/- admission fee & Rs.10/- for cost of one share). No money will be accepted from members until and unless her name is registered with USHA.
  3. Two passport/stamp sized photographs of the member are required. Additionally, a photograph of the nominee with the member will also have to be provided.
  4. For obtaining duplicate copy of a torn/lost passbook, an application has to be sent to the Secretary of the Cooperative along with a fine of Rs.5/-.
  5. The money deposited by the member will be distributed in two accounts i.e. Savings and Thrift Fund.

What are the impacts of the activities?
The impacts of the activities are:

  1. USHA has promoted responsible saving and spending habits among sex workers.
  2. It has enabled sex workers to save and create a reserve of earnings to fall back upon in contingency or crisis situations.
  3. Sex workers’ dependence on unscrupulous money lenders, loan sharks and other dubious financial agents has markedly diminished because of the intervention. USHA has also reduced indebtedness and economic bondage among sex workers, due to which they can opt out of or discontinue sex work if they wish.
  4. USHA has encouraged self sufficiency, social security and economic independence among sex workers. This has enabled many to plan rehabilitation and prepare for their old age.
  5. The loans offered by USHA have enabled sex workers to send their children to schools and colleges. As a result, many children of sex workers are pursuing higher education including graduate degrees and diplomas, masters and even M-Phil courses.
  6. USHA has also helped create alternative jobs for out-of-work and elderly sex workers. Last year alone, USHA has helped 222 such women avail various forms of alternate employment.

What are the principles underlying the work?
Usha has been guided by the following principles in its work:
i)      Programs for, of and by sex workers
ii)     Voluntary membership
iii)    Democratic participation and self rule
iv)  Combining benefit and contribution; i.e., as sex workers’ benefit from economic security they also contribute to the development of the cooperative society
v)    Service delivery and capacity building; i.e., sex workers learn and grow in the process of managing their finances

What are the various Savings Schemes?
The Savings Schemes are:

  1. Savings Deposit
  2. Thrift Fund
  3. Recurring deposit
  4. Monthly Income Scheme
  5. Fixed Deposit Scheme
  6. Daily Collection Scheme

What is the interest rate in ‘Savings Deposit’?
The interest rate in a Savings Deposit account is 5% per annum.

What is the interest rate in ‘Thrift Fund’?
The interest rate in a Thrift Fund is 7% per annum.

How is the ‘Recurring Deposit calculated’?

Monthly Deposit

Year one

Year two

Year three

50

630

1292

1987

75

945

1938

2980

100

1260

1584

3978

150

1890

3876

5961

200

2520

5168

7948

300

3780

7752

11922

400

5040

10336

15896

500

6300

12920

19870


What is the ‘Monthly Income Scheme’?
The Monthly Income Scheme is as follows:
a)    The minimum deposit is Rs. 5000. One can deposit in excess but it must be in multiples of Rs.1000.
b)    The duration of deposit is for five years and the interest rate is 8%
c)    In case of deposits of Rs. 1 lakh or more, the interest rate will be 9% and the duration is of five years
d)    The member will not be allowed to withdraw before the completion of three years
e)    In cases of emergency, when a member requires fast money, she can take an equivalent loan of 95% of her deposits.
f) Whenever a member chooses to withdraw prematurely, the interest rate will decrease. This will depend upon the time of withdrawal or the maturity period. The interest rate will be reduced by 1% but if the money is withdrawn after 3 years, the interest rate will be 7%.

What are the interest rates for the ‘Fixed Deposit Scheme’?
The interest rates for the Fixed Deposit Schemes are as follows:

Period

Interest rate

15 – 45 days

4%

45 – 90 days

4.5%

91 – 180 days

5%

181 – 364 days

5.5%

1 year – 3 years (1094 days)

7.5%

>3 years

9%

8 year 5 months

Double

More than Rs. One lakh

9.25%

 

What is the ‘Daily Collection Scheme’?
The Daily collection Scheme is outlined as follows:

Scheme

Main

Interest

Total

5

1825

75

1900

10

3650

150

3800

15

5475

225

5700

20

7300

300

7600

50

18250

750

19000


What are the differences between recurring, savings and thrift fund in USHA compared to those at other banks?
The rates of interest for recurring, savings and thrift fund are higher at USHA compared to other banks’ interest rates.
a)    If a member withdraws money prematurely, she would receive interest on that particular period at 1% less than the official interest rate of that period
b)    In case a member fails to deposit money within the stipulated time period, she would get the same interest as applicable if the money were to be kept for the whole period.
c)    In the case of monthly deposits, if a member fails to deposit timely, deposits of more than five years would be fined Rs. 1.50 for every Rs. 100 and for those less than five years will be fined Rs. 2.00 for every Rs. 100.
d)    In case a monthly deposit is not paid, fine will not be charged if the same amount is paid in advance.

What is the rate of interest on loan to members?
Members are entitled to receive loans from USHA, as per rules, against their deposit and interest @ 11% p.a.(on reducing basis) will be applied on the loan.

What is the number of members as of 31st March, 2013?
The total number of member as of 31st March, 2013 is 19772

What is the annual turnover as of 31st March, 2013?
The annual turnover as of 31st March, 2013 is Rs.16.75 crores.