Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate and the founder of Grameen Bank Mohd Yunus has said his Grameen Bank model has now reached nearly 300 million borrowers across the world. “After changing lives of over 9 million people in Bangladesh and generating 100,000 dollars in US, our Grameen Bank experiment has been able to benefit an estimated 300 million borrowers across the world including Brazil”, Yunus told reporters after delivering the ‘Arijit Mukherji Memorial Lecture’ at Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, here last evening. Yunus said micro-credit turned into an alternative investment fund to help fight unemployment. To a question if people in West Bengal were not ready to take risk taking ventures as entrepreneurs, he said “I don’t look at it that way. The mentality to start own ventures is there, everywhere in world including Bengal. But you have to be with them (the young unemployed).” “There is this ocean of money all around. Poor people just want a sip of that money and we should reach it out to them,” he said adding even rich people become defaulters in bank loans “but conventional banks still reach out to the rich.”
To a question about the fall of ponzy firms in Bengal, Yunus said, “While there can always be fly-by-night firms in a system and laws and legislation to check their activities, if you refer to the micro-credit concept mooted by us, it never collects money from depositors.” Yunus did not comment on effects of GST on start-ups in the country and how demonetisation was impacting the common man since it was introduced in last November. “I am not familiar with the situation in India with regard to these two issues,” he said to related questions.