Chinna Pillai is from a small village near Madurai. She started a very successful banking system in the villages in Tamil Nadu and is a champion trying to reduce poverty and debt grievances by empowering women. Her intent efforts in leading a savings unit among women in the debt stricken village of Pullucheri became so successful that soon many groups sprung in the region with equal effectiveness. The Kalanjiam, microcredit movement received a huge boost from her dedication and contributions, reaching out to many women living under poverty.
Chinna Pillai was one of five women to receive the Stree Shakti Puraskar in 1999. In a picture perfect moment for the press, then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee bowed down in respect and touched her feet while presenting her with the award. She received Padma Shri for her service in 2019.
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- Rajachandrasekaran, Anitha (5 March 2005). "On an EQUAL footing". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Padma Awards 2019 Announced: Full list of awardees". The NEWS Minute. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.