Chetna Gala Sinha is an activist, farmer, and banker. In the early 1980s, while still a student in Mumbai, she joined the Jayaprakash Narayan movement and travelled through the country championing land rights and other social issues. In 1996, Chetna founded the Mann Deshi Foundation 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.
Today, the Mann Deshi Bank has over 100,000 account holders, has loaned over $50 million, and regularly creates new financial products to support the needs of female micro-entrepreneurs. It has received the 2006 Microfinance Process Excellence Award, the 2014 Best Eco-Tech Bank Award by the Indian Bank Association and the 2015 'Best Bank Award' by the Maharashtra Urban Cooperative Banks Federation.