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Didi Bartan Bank: An Initiative Which Is Reducing Single Use Plastic & Generating Employment

Didi Bartan Bank was started in 2017 in Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh. These banks not only provide utensils at nominal rates but also reduce the use of single use plastic The banks also provide women with a good source of income
Indian Masterminds Stories

Increasing pollution from single use plastic and its dangerous effects are forcing governments to run large scale campaigns to deal with this problem. However, Ambikapur Municipal Corporation in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja district has shown that even through a small initiative, this fight can be won, and employment generated, at the same time.

Here, an initiative named ‘Didi Bartan Bank’ (Sisters’ Utensil Bank) was started in 2017. To reduce the use of plastic disposal and create self-employment, the Municipal Corporation helped Self Help Groups (SHGs) of women to start utensil banks. It not only reduced the plastic disposal in the city, but also provided employment to 80 women directly and hundreds of people indirectly. Though started on small scale, the SHGs have generated revenue of more than 12 lakhs till date.

Recently, 2018 batch IAS officer and Commissioner of Ambikapur Municipal Corporation, Ms. Pratishtha Mamgain, helped these SHGs to expand the Didi Utensil Banks to Tent Houses.

Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Mamgain gave more details about the initiative.

Pratishtha Mamgain, 2018 batch IAS officer

HOW IT STARTED

There are eight SHGs, each having 10 women, in the city, at different locations. When Ambikapur Municipal Corporation started this initiative and made it a model for others, initially it seemed that it would not be successful. But soon, its results were visible. The scheme was launched in September 2018 by the then Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh, but the bank had started in 2017 itself.

It was noticed that even in small functions, people used a lot of plastic disposals, due to which, a lot of waste used to be generated and there was dirt all around in the city. All this filth was visible on the roads, too, as the disposals were mostly thrown on them as soon as the event was over.

Hence, the Municipal Corporation thought of doing something to get rid of it. In big programmes, the waste is collected easily, but if someone has a small function at home, then the entire waste collection was either thrown on the road or other pubic places.

Hence, the corporation started arranging utensils to stop the usage of plastic disposals in marriage and other parties.

These utensils are available at very less rates. Rent is from 7 to 10 rupees for one set, which is 30 percent less than the market price. These utensil banks are fully run by women SHGs and the rents also go to them.

Ms. Mamgain said, “The idea was that if small utensil banks are created in the wards and mohallas, then, whenever there is an event at someone’s place, they should take utensils on rent from there. These utensils will be reusable. Due to this, employment will be generated and there will be no use of single use plastic. This will protect our environment.”

EMPLOYMENT GENERATION

The Central government has a scheme called National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), and self-employment training is given to the people who have registered in this scheme. The Ambikapur Municipal Corporation selected women from NULM to run the utensil banks. First, they were given training and then SHGs were formed according to their locations. A total of eight SHGs exist now, having 80 women. The corporation helped the groups to take loans on very low interest rates.

FROM UTENSIL TO TENT

After a while, the women said that apart from providing utensils, they should also be catering to other stuff used in functions, on people’s demand. So the corporation made a budget of 8 lakhs and converted these banks into tent houses. New equipment were bought, and now the banks also keep tents, chairs, tables, furnaces, tents or pandals, trays, containers and such other items. They have the capacity to cater to 800 people at one time now. They can take large orders, too.

VISIBLE BENEFITS

Business is flourishing now, generating more income and employment. Ms. Mamgain said, “So far, this initiative has had a good impact. It not only reduced single use plastic in the city, but also generated employment, directly and indirectly. This campaign has helped in reducing the indiscriminate disposal of plastic plates, glasses and bowls in the city roads and public areas. This is greatly helping our environment. So, we can say that our campaign against single use plastic is bringing good results, and the Didi Bartan Banks play a large role in this success.”


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