To term the existing credit structure in the villages as usurious and thereby noxious to the interests of the vast majority of small and poor peasants is to make a statement of the obvious, applicable to any part of south east Asia. Bagepalli taluk of Kolar District in Karnataka, South India, is no exception. Where our attempt set up an alternative credit system that Coolies can avail of is different from most other similar efforts of voluntary agencies in India is in fact that rural credit is not seen as the cornerstone for all other economic development, but as an integral part of ADATS’ overall socio-political effort assisted by economic inputs to humanise the Coolies of Bagepalli. It is not a problem however appealing that can be tackled in isolation of the rural poor’s position in village society.
The Coolie Credit Fund set up in March 1985 to provide interestfree advances to member Coolies for petty productive and consumption purposes is not an alternative only in its content and functioning, in that it has evolved from a grass root planning exercise, is Coolie controlled, etc., but mainly in the fact that it represents a logical part of the total effort to create a class of Coolies from out of a mass of poor people.