Utility Technologies Promoted by BASIX Group of Companies


Sanitary Napkins

Need for the Technology: Reproductive health and related issues and needs has been an issue that has not been given enough attention by the government or the people in general. Despite the recent awareness campaigns, knowledge of the best practices related to menstrual hygiene and stigmas attached to it has been limited to very few people. This leads to several infections and diseases as women continue to use unhygienic practices during menstruation. Limited access to safe sanitary products and facilities is believed to be one the reasons for constrained school attendance, high dropout rates and ill health due to infection. International organizations, private NGO’s and social enterprises have been working towards developing adequate female sanitation awareness and facilities.

Accessibility and affordability of sanitary napkins are major issues for low income groups.Pic1 In India, particularly in rural areas, most women use cloth during menstruation. This is primarily due to sanitary napkins being expensive to buy. A pack of 10 sanitary napkins would cost Rs. 24 – 40, which is very expensive by Indian standards of rural and urban poor. Several studies show the presence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) being high in states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka, specifically in the rural areas. Poor menstrual hygiene is considered to be one of the reasons for the high prevalence of STIs and RTIs in the country.

Solution Being Planned by BASIX: BASIX has conducted a feasibility study for setting up a sanitary napkins unit in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Many issues related to setting up of the manufacturing workshop have been identified. BASIX has contacted several well-known NGOs in order to know their best practices and has explored the possibility of working with them to set up a manufacturing unit in the state of Telangana and is also looking at possible ways to work alongside the government in providing low cost sanitary napkins. BASIX has explored the various marketing strategies and supply channels for selling of the product in the marketplace.

WatSan Program

Water and Sanitation Program (WatSan Program)

Need for the Technology:BASIX found a complete lack of sanitation and hygiene in the states where it was conducting its microfinance operation. The lack of sanitation was because of shortage of toilets, bathrooms etc. In addition to this, there was a lack of clean tap water facilities. The dearth of credit in rural areas to build hygienic sanitation facilities was found to be one of the primary reasons for the lack of sanitation facilities. BASIX then teamed up Water Partners International (WPI) to design a loan product with the goal of improving the sanitation and hygienic conditions of the poor in rural areas.

Solution Offered by BASIX: BASIX in collaboration with WPI has designed and developed the Water and Sanitation Loan Program (Watsan Program). The Watsan program caters to the investment needs of the individuals in the areas of water and sanitation. The aim of the program is to provide financial and technical assistance to provide health and hygiene which is important to the livelihood of the poor. This improved health and hygienic conditions might lead to improved social acceptance for the poor.

Our implementation had a two pronged strategy: The first one was to provide credit that would enable the poor households to build such facilities and the second was to provide technical assistance to households. The loan was given for the following purposes:

1. Water connection/Tap

2. Construction of toilets

3. Construction of bathroom

4. Construction of Toilet cum bathroom

5. Digging bore wells

Most banks only gave collateralized loans and the loans given below the amount of Rs. 25,000 were non-existent. The Watsan loan program bridged the gap by providing loans between Rs. 10,000 – 25,000. Loans given by BASIX were security free but not responsibility free as the loan request always included a co-applicant that would equally be responsible for the payment of the loan. The loans were given with insurance and the repayment period of the loans was 36 months. BASIX also provided technical assistance for taking up the construction of toilets, bathrooms, and toilet cum bathrooms as well as digging bore wells and providing water connections. The individuals that have been given loans under this program are 5,295 and the total amount disbursed comes out to be nearly six crores (Rs. 59,374,250).


Sanitation as a Business (SaaB)

Need for the Technology Plus Intervention: In Sheohar district of Bihar, where Indian Grameen Services (IGS) is working, it was noticed that open defecation was much higher in this particular district along with rest of the rural India. The total households in the district were 1.48 lakh. Of these only 0.32 lakh had access to a toilet while 78% of the households practice open defecation . This figure was slightly higher than the state average of 76% households practicing open defecation. Based on the study of around 500 households the major constraints for construction of toilets appears to be poverty. In addition to this the quality of Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) toilets was poor leading to open defecation despite the availability of a toilet at home.

Solution Offered by BASIX: IGS collaborated with Water for People and started operations in Sheohar in 2012. One of its programs piloted by IGS is called Sanitation as a Business (SaaB). SaaB was piloted in Sheohar district of Bihar. The initial efforts were focused on demand generation for toilets which would be catered to through the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). However, people were reluctant to construct the toilets. Moreover, the demand for toilets in the absence of a standard physical product was varying and could not be fulfilled through the TSC model. IGS team despite trying for months found there was no change in the outcome - nobody came forward with a realistic demand for toilets.

It was in this context that IGS decided to focus on the entrepreneur mode of working though the task of engaging entrepreneurs in this endeavour was difficult. In this mode IGS decided to identify entrepreneurs who would undertake construction of toilets at household level and also stock sanitary wares and construction material. Right from layout to actual construction with purchase of material has been covered in the entrepreneur model of toilet construction. In a short duration, around 600 toilets had been constructed in Sheohar district. Working on the value chain has enabled the entrepreneurs to undertake toilet construction in Munger district at nearly 200 locations in a short span of one month.


Safe Drinking Water Plant for Rural Areas

Need for the Technology: The rural population of India comprises more than 700 million people residing in about 1.42 million habitations spread over 15 diverse ecological regions . It is true that providing drinking water to such a large population is an enormous challenge. It is also characterised by non-uniformity in level of awareness, socio-economic development, education, poverty, practices and rituals which add to the complexity of providing water.

The health burden of poor water quality is enormous. It is estimated that around 37.7 millionHealth1 Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually, 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhoea alone and 73 million working days are lost due to waterborne disease each year. The resulting economic burden is estimated at $600 million a year. The problems of chemical contamination are also prevalent in India with 1, 95,813 habitations in the country are affected by poor water quality. The major chemical parameters of concern are fluoride and arsenic. Iron is also emerging as a major problem with many habitations showing excess iron in the water samples.

Solution Offered by BASIX:BASIX is offering services to community organizations and social entrepreneurs to support and facilitate setting up of safe drinking water plants with Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. BASIX facilitates the testing of the quality of available water and ensures the customization of the RO purifying machine to suit the treatment needs of the available water so as to produce safe drinking water. 20 litres water can be sold at price from Rs. 4 per can with net profit of about Rs. 3 per can. The establishment cost is Rs. 6.45 lakhs for which bank loans can be availed up to 80%.

Health2In addition to the health and subsequent impact on livelihoods and education of the community members, if any community organization such as Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) puts up such plant; it will help the FPO in additional revenue generation and will ensure some activity going on during the lean periods due to agriculture seasonality.


Technical & Financial Support for Building Houses

Provided to Residents of Weaker Sections in Mongolpuri, Delhi

Need for the Technology: Shelter is the basic human requirement. Even after 68 years of independence, the country is still grappling with the growing shelter problem, especially of the poor. The problem has further been compounded by the rapid increase in urban population. Constant migration of rural population to cities in search of jobs is causing unbearable strain on urban housing and basic services. There is a severe housing shortage in the urban areas with demand – supply gap increasing day-by-day.

According to the 2011 census, India’s cities have a slum population of 65.49 million (22.4 percent of the urban population). While the slum population has increased, the number of slums has decreased – resulting in greater density. Slum dwellers lack access to basic services. Most slum dwellers do not have access to clean water, sanitation and health care facilities. They face a constant threat of eviction, removal, confiscation of goods and have virtually no social security cover. Some 54 percent of urban slums do not have toilets; public facilities are unusable due to a lack of maintenance.

Solution Offered by BASIX: BASIX collaborated with microHome Solutions Ltd. (mHS), based in Delhi for collaborating towards supporting slum dwellers to improve their dwelling conditions. mHS is working towards influencing the current self-construction practices in urban slums by providing innovative construction methods, improving drainage, sanitation and space utilisation for better health. In the year 2010, mHS conceptualized DHS (Design Home Solutions) as a service for urban households engaging in self-construction. A significant proportion of housing in India is being constructed by homeowners with the help of a local mason or a builder. mHS approached BASIX to finance slum dwellers identified by them in North West Delhi, in order to strengthen, repair, extend, and re-construct their present weak dwellings as well as to improve the ventilation, toilets, sewage connection and build another floor above their present ground floor accommodation. The applicants had no title deeds except for a government certificate which entitled them to occupy a plot admeasuring 22’X 10’ following the re-settlement initiative taken to re-locate them from certain areas of metropolitan Delhi. Housing1

Since the banks do not provide such unsecured housing loans, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd. [BSFL] decided to do a pilot with mHS and provide micro credit for building safe and strong houses, which would be required to be repaid over 7 years at an interest rate of 18% per annum if the loan is provided to a female member or 19% per annum if provided to a male member. BSFL would cover their risk by ensuring that the borrowers used the additional space in their dwelling for engaging in a livelihood activity or by renting the same, thereby earning enough to repay the loan in instalments. They would also take possession of the Government Certificate entitling the borrower to a plot over which he wished to construct her/his dwelling and insisted that only those houses which have been designed and technically approved by mHS would be funded by them. Fee of 3.5% of the loan amount was to be paid to mHS for their technical assistance. The borrowers agreed to pay this fee as they realized that they will get better and economical accommodation as mHS will supervise the raw-material and construction and keep the cost under control thereby ensuring that masons do not compromise on quality and/or overcharge.