In our next special issue series, we have two most eminent personalities sharing their valuable insights with us on their experiences with social entrepreneurship and community development.
Aloysius Prakash Fernandez, Padmashree Awardee 2000, has vast experience in the fields of development and finance having worked with Caritas India, the World Bank and Canadian International Development Agency. He returned to Bangalore in 1982 as the Executive Director of Myrada with a mission to raise one million poor above the poverty line. He is popularly known as the father of SHG movement which emerged in 1985 when the Co-operative Societies MYRADA he was working with, broke up. He was closely associated with NABARD in promoting the SHG movement since 1987 and in the development of the SHG-Bank Linkage Program since 1992. He was a Director on the Board of Corporation Bank, Member of the Dr. C. Rangarajan Committee on Financial Inclusion, Bangalore University Syndicate and a member of the Steering Committee on Agriculture and Allied Sectors for the 12th Plan. He founded Sanghamithra Rural Financial Services, a Section 25 Company in 1996. He also grounded the first watershed management project in Gulbarga in 1985 where people’s institutions took the lead in planning and implementation. He has authored several books and monographs. He was awarded the Padmashree in 2000 and received the Caritas Millennium Award in the same year.
K. Paul Thomas is the Founder of ESAF group of social enterprises, which includes ESAF Small Finance Bank. Currently, he holds the position of Managing Director & CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank. In 2015, the Bank was one among the top 10 microfinance institutions chosen by Reserve Bank of India to extend banking services to the low-income segments. The bank, which was formed in 2017, is currently counted as one of the best in its genre. Under the leadership of Mr. K. Paul Thomas, the company currently has a Pan-India presence with 421 banking outlets across 17 states in India and it reaches out to more than 3 million customers. He founded ESAF as a nonprofit society in 1992 by organizing neighborhood women into self-help groups (SHGs). The organization conducted community-led development activities in Kerala's Thrissur district. ESAF started micro-credit program as part of its larger Micro-Enterprise Development mandate and later transformed into an NBFC in 2007.Under his leadership, ESAF has secured memberships in several international Organizations. ESAF is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. ESAF Small Finance Bank is the first Indian bank to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). He is the recipient of the SKOCH Award for Financial Inclusion and Karma Ratna award for exemplary contributions to Kerala society. He was conferred the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by TIE, Kerala. Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) elected him as the Chairman of the Kerala State Council
C.P. Mohan is a development finance professional with over 37 years of senior-level experience across cooperatives, private, non-profit, public, and multilateral institutions. He belongs to the PRM-01 of IRMA and graduated in 1980. Mohan has worked with major national and international institutions such as GCMMF, NABARD, NABFINS, World Bank Group, and FAOfrom grassroots to policy level positions. Among many of his achievements, a key highlight is his role in the establishment of NABFINS as a vibrant national rural financial institution, as itsManaging Director. He was also closely associated with international organizations such as the World Bank Group and FAO as a technical specialist in Agri banking/finance and serves in Boards of several development/microfinance institutions. At the policy level, his contributions to important committees such as the Reserve Bank’s Khan Committee are well acknowledged. Mohan considers the teachings of Dr. Kurien and the great concept of IRMA assources of inspiration for him to walk the extra mile in his endeavors.