Founder, Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank

A pioneer in rural financing, Chetna founded the Mann Deshi Foundation in 1996 in Mhaswad, a drought-stricken area of Maharashtra, with the aim of economically and socially empowering rural women. In 1997, she set up the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank – India’s first bank for and by rural women. In the two decades since the bank’s institution with a working capital of ₹7,08,000 raised from among its 1,335 members, it has reached over 3,10,000 women (84,000 among them borrowers), providing them with the financial backing and emotional impetus to become successful entrepreneurs. From its single branch in Mhaswad, Mann Deshi now operates with a working capital of ₹150 crore across seven branches in Maharashtra.​