A Chit fund is a kind of savings scheme practiced in India. A Chit fund company means a company managing, conducting or supervising, as foremen, agent or in any other capacity, chits as defined in Section 2 of the Chit Funds Act, 1982. According to Section 2(b) of the Chit Fund Act, 1982, "Chit means a transaction whether called chit, chit fund, chitty, kuree or by any other name by or under which a person enters into an agreement with a specified of persons that every one of them shall subscribe a certain sum of money (or a certain quantity of grain instead) by way of periodical installments over a definite period and that each such subscriber shall, in his turn, as determined by lot or by auction or by tender or in such other manner as may be specified in the chit agreement, be entitled to the prize amount".
Such chit fund schemes may be conducted by organised financial institutions or may be unorganised schemes conducted between friends or relatives. There are also variations of chits where the savings are done for a specific purpose. Chit funds also played an important role in the financial development of people of south Indian state of Kerala, by providing easier access to credit. In Kerala, chitty (chit fund) is a common phenomenon practiced by all sections of the society. A company named Kerala State Financial Enterprise exists under the Kerala State Government, whose main business activity is the chitty.
A collection of members called a chit group makes their contribution in the form of money to collect a chit amount and they bid in an auction to be awarded with the prized money which is equal to the chit amount minus the discount and the foreman's commission.
with the Deputy Registrar of Chits and a registered number is obtained. The Foreman promotes and conducts the Chits as per the regulations of the Chit Fund Act and Rules.
How it works: Example
Different chit funds operate in different ways; and there are also many fraudulent tactics practiced by many private firms. The basic necessity of conducting a 'Chitty' is a group of needy people called subscribers. The foreman - the company or person conducting the chitty - brings these people together and conducts the chitty. The foreman is also the person responsible for collecting the money from subscribers, presiding over the auctions and keeping records of subscribers. He is compensated a fixed amount (generally 5% of gross chitty amount) monthly for his efforts; other than that the foreman does not have any specific privileges, he is just a subscriber of the chitty.
The general pattern of the chitty can be readily noticed by a simple formula:
Monthly Premium × Duration in Months = Gross Amount
E.g.: 1000 * 50 = 50,000/- Where 1000 is the maximum monthly contribution needed from a subscriber, 50 is the duration of the chitty in months and 50,000 is the maximum sum assured. The duration also equals the number of subscribers, as there must be (not more or less) one subscriber to receive the price money every month.
The chitty starts on an announced date, every subscriber come together for the auction/lot. As per Kerala chit act, the minimum prize money of an auction is limited to 70% of the gross sum assured that is 35,000 in the above example. When there are more than one person willing to take this minimum sum, lot are conducted and the 'Lucky subscriber' get the prize money for the month. If there is no person willing to take the minimum sum, then a reverse auction is conducted where subscribers open-bid for lower amounts; that is from 50,000 >> 49,000 >> 48,000, and so on. The person bidding lowest sum get bid amount.
In both the cases the auction discount, that is the difference between the gross sum and auction amount, is equally distributed among subscribers or is deducted from their monthly premium. For example if the auction is settled on a sum of 40,000, then the auction discount of 10,000 (50,000 - 40,000) is divided by 50 (the total number of subscribers) and every one gets a discount of 200. The same practice is repeated every month and every subscriber gets a chance of receiving some money.
Contribution of Thrissur
According to All Kerala Kuri Foremen's Association, Kerala has around 5,000 chit companies, with Thrissur district accounting for the maximum of 3,000. These chit companies provide employment to about 35,000 persons directly and an equal number indirectly.
Chit funds in India are governed by various state or central laws. Organised chit fund schemes are required to register with the Registrar or Firms, Societies and Chits.
- Union Government - Chit Funds Act 1982 (Except the State of Jammu and Kashmir)
- Kerala: Kerala Chitties Act 1975
- Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu Chit Funds Act, 1961
- Karnataka: The Chit Funds (Karnataka) Rules, 1983
- Andhra Pradesh: The Andhra Pradesh Chit Funds Act, 1971
- New Delhi: The Chit Funds Act,1982 and Delhi Chit Funds Rules, 2007
- Maharashtra: Maharashtra Chit Fund Act 1975
Organised chit funds
In North India common type of chit fund is where small slips with each members name are written and gathered in a box. When all members gather for a monthly or weekly meeting then concern incharge in front of all members will pick up one slip from the box and who so ever's name comes that person will be entitled to get the collection of that day. Afterwards that persons name slip is torn and thereafter he comes for meetings regularly and gives his kitty's share but his name won't be there in the slips of box as he has already collected his share.
Special purpose funds
Some chit funds may be conducted as a savings scheme for specific purpose. An example is the Deepavali sweets fund, which has a specific end date - about a week before Deepavali. Neighbourhood ladies will get together to pool their savings each week. This fund will be used to prepare sweets in bulk just before the Deepavali festival, and the sweets will be distributed to all members. Preparation of Deepavali sweets may be a time consuming and costly activity for individuals. Such a chit will reduce the cost, and relieve the members from excess work from an already tense festival season. Nowadays, such special purpose chits are conducted by jewellery shops, kitchenware shops, etc. to promote their products.
Online Chit Funds
With the advent of ecommerce in India, Chit funds have also started going online. Online chit funds conduct auctions online and subscribers can pay their monthly dues and receive prize amount online through online transactions including electronic fund transfers. Each member will have an online account through which they can manage their chit funds.
As for online chit funds in the United States, eMoneyPool.com has taken this model online, however it refers to them as 'money pools.'
- Kerala State Financial Enterprise LTD
- Strength in numbers: how chit funds help the impoverished
- IFMR Study: Chit funds as an innovation access to finance for low-income households
- Klonner, Stefan (2002), Understanding Chit Funds: Price Determination and the Role of Auction Formats in Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (PDF), Williams College, archived from the original on 14 March 2012, retrieved 14 March 2012.
- The Chits Funds Act,1982
- Chit Pools- Online Chit operations
- Online Chit Fund