LOAN MELA a revolution

January 1982 I was called by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. When I went there, a surprise was waiting for me. "I am making you a Minister," Indira Gandhi said. Before I could realize what was happening, she continued "I am giving you Finance Portfolio." 'Thank you', I said. "You know why I am making you… Read More  

Go back Poojary!

There was a Loan Mela organized in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. When I reached the spot, members of DMK Party started protesting. "Go back Poojary, Go back," they shouted. Some people even showed black flags. My staff told me not to get down as situation was tense. But I was not at all scared. I… Read More  


Loan Melas were going on all across the country with a huge response from the poor and so did the protests. I was in Mehboob Nagar in Andhra Pradesh to attend a Mela. The 'Go back Poojary' protest was organized there also by opposition political Party. I reached the spot and I was about to… Read More  

In Chambal Valley

I withstood all hurdles and opposition to Loan Mela programme. I did not even care for threats. For many days, I used to have only dinner and spend the day on biscuits. One day, I was in Madhav Rao Scindhia's Constituency in Madhya Pradesh to conduct a Loan Mela. We landed there at 7 am…. Read More  

'I will complain to Poojary saab'

In Manipur, an old vegetable vendor had gone to a Bank seeking Rs 2,000 loan. But the Bank Manager had turned down her request. After some days, she went to the Bank again only to get the same answer. Then as a last effort, she told the Manager that "she will tell Poojary". He got… Read More  

Bank strike

Along with Loan Mela, we also started a Scheme to disburse loans to Small Scale Industries. Bank staff again started protesting citing work pressure. Staff of a Nationalized Bank in Shimla shut down the Bank and started an agitation. It went on for days. When people sought to withdraw their Deposits, the protesting staff turned… Read More  

Nothing can match people's support

When I went to Andhra Pradesh, none other than the State Government led by N T Rama Rao opposed the Loan Mela. Facing protests had become a routine thing for me those days. Even in Karnataka, which was ruled by Ramakrishna Hegde of Janata Party, I had to face lot of resistance to Loan Mela… Read More  

Parade with opponents

I had organized a Loan Mela programme at Parade Ground in Bengaluru. We wanted to disburse loan to 1.5 lakh people. I was staying in Kumara Krupa Guest House. Opposition party workers came to the Guest House and started shouting slogans; "Poojary Murdabad, Down with Poojary," They were also carrying sticks with them. Around 2000… Read More  

In Rajasthan

One day, we had organized Loan Melas in several places in Rajasthan. MPs and MLAs used to come with me for these programmes. It was summer then and the sun was very hot. When we were going from one place to another, they used to invite me for lunch. But I refused to have lunch… Read More  

Indira's pat

I used to work on all days no matter if it was Diwali, Independence Day or any other festival. Biscuit was my food on most days when I was touring the country conducting Loan Melas. I used to offer biscuits and water to those travelling in my car. I used to ensure MPs and MLAs… Read More  

My pet portfolio changed

After I served in Finance Portfolio for six years and two months, Rajiv Gandhi made me Minister of Rural Development. Very next day, we were flying to Hyderabad in a special flight. "Why did you change my Portfolio? Did I do something wrong? You should not have changed my Portfolio," I told Rajiv.He got very… Read More  

Rajiv's dream Panchayat Raj bill

Rajiv had a vision for India's development. As expected of me, I conducted several conventions about Rural Development in different parts of the country. I used to tell why it is necessary to empower people. Rajiv was busy in preparing a draft Bill to bring amendment to the Panchayat Raj Act to transfer power to… Read More  

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