Manju Kanrar

She turned time-pass into cash but lockdown dulled glitter

Manju Kanrar, 33, turned her skill at doing sequin work on readymade salwar-kameez suits into a business in 2016 when she borrowed Rs 10,000 from Village Financial Services’ Baltikuri branch.

She used to do sequin work and stitch zari borders on salwar-suit lengths just to pass time, inspired by her sister-in-law, and found she could earn some money as well. Manju stays in Kadamtala village of West Bengal’s Howrah district with her husband Ajay.

After she took her first loan, she could handle larger volumes and very soon, she was giving work to women in her lane. In 2018, she borrowed Rs 40,000 and is in her fourth loan cycle

When the lockdown struck, Manju was farming out work to almost 50 women. She was making an average net profit of Rs 10,000 a month. Although the lockdown has been lifted, the haat or market where she sells her goods shuts by 4pm so she is facing some problems.

Not only is she self-reliant but she pays for the education of her son and their family’s household needs, including house repairs. She also owns a two-wheeler.

The lockdown brought her business to a halt but she started paying her loan instalments when Unlock-1 began. For VFS, she is a good customer.

Her husband owns a Toto, the battery-operated rickshaws popular in semi-urban and rural Bengal. His business also halted during the lockdown. He used to ferry school and college students. Also, the Toto stand is near the railway station, but the government had not resumed suburban train services till August so his income has taken a big hit.

The video was shot before the pandemic.

Updated on Sep 2, 2020