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Micro Finance and Women Empowerment
By Murlidhar A. Lokhande

First Published : 2014
ISBN : 9788177083682
Pages : 196
Binding : Hardbound
Size : 5 x 9
Price : US$ 39

Micro finance is a movement with the underlying objective of helping poor households to have access to financial services, including credit at affordable cost. Many of those who promote micro finance believe that such access will help poor people get out of poverty. For others, micro finance is a way to promote economic development, employment and growth through the support of micro entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Micro finance is the provision of a diverse range of financial services and products including small loans (micro credit), savings accounts, insurance, pensions and money transfers. These are designed to assist people living in poverty who are not able to access financial services in the mainstream banking sector because they have no collateral, formal identification or steady income.

Women are typically poorer than men and have fewer options for earning a livelihood to provide adequate food, housing and education for their children. They are also the change agents of the family. Women are more likely to invest their earnings into improving the lives of the families. By encouraging women to take charge of their futures, micro finance institutions (MFIs) can impact families and whole communities.

Women, if empowered by giving opportunities, can become good social workers, political leaders and successful entrepreneurs. However, the pace of women empowerment through micro finance is slow due to a variety of constraints which urgently need to be rooted out.

1. Micro Finance and Self‐help Groups (SHGs)
1.1 Origins of Micro Finance
1.2 Micro Finance Defined
1.3 Need for Micro Finance
1.4 Micro Finance Objectives
1.5 Micro Finance Organizations
1.6 Micro Finance and the Banking System
1.7 Self-help Group (SHG)-Bank Linkage Programme
1.7.1 Meaning and Emergence of SHGs
1.7.2 Benefits of SHG to Members
1.7.3 Benefits of SHGs to Banks
1.7.4 Progress of SHG-Bank Linkage Programme
1.7.5 Self-help Groups and Women
1.8 Micro Finance and Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
1.9 Role of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)
1.10 Micro Finance and Inclusive Growth
1.10.1 Need for Inclusive Growth
1.11 Micro Finance and Financial Inclusion
1.12 Review of Earlier Studies
1.13 Summing Up

2. Micro Finance and NABARD
2.1 NABARD: Establishment, Objectives and Functions
2.1.1 Establishment of NABARD
2.1.2 Objectives and Mission
2.1.3 Major Functions and Activities
2.1.4 Training and Consultancy
2.2 NABARD’s Strategy for Popularity of Micro Finance
2.2.1 Graduation of Mature SHGs into Micro Enterprises
2.2.2 Tracking the Progress of Micro Finance
2.2.3 Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDP) for Skill Development
2.2.4 Support to Activity-based Groups
2.2.5 Support to Federations of SHGs
2.2.6 Grant Support to Partner Agencies for Promotion and Nurture of SHGs
2.2.7 Training and Capacity Building
2.2.8 Special Initiative for Scaling-up SHGs/SHG Federations
2.3 NABARD’S Promotional Support to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)
2.3.1 Capital Support to MFIs
2.3.2 Revolving Fund Assistance to MFIs
2.3.3 Rating of MFIs
2.4 NABARD-German Technical Collaboration (GTZ) in Rural Finance
2.5 Joint Liability Groups (JLGs)
2.5.1 JLG Models
2.5.2 Criteria for Selection of JLG Members
2.5.3 Support Extended by NABARD
2.6 Summing Up

3. National Policy for Empowerment of Women (NPEW)
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Objectives of NPEW
3.3 Elements of NPEW
3.3.1 Politico-legal Empowerment of Women
3.3.2 Economic Empowerment of Women
3.3.3 Social Empowerment of Women
3.4 Operational Strategies of NPEW
3.4.1 Action Plans
3.4.2 Institutional Mechanisms
3.4.3 Resource Management
3.4.4 Legislation
3.4.5 Gender Sensitization
3.4.6 Panchayati Raj Institutions
3.4.7 Partnership with the Voluntary Sector Organizations
3.4.8 International Cooperation
4. Policies and Programmes for Empowerment of Women
4.1 Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)
4.2 Organisations under MWCD
4.2.1 National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
4.2.2 Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
4.2.3 Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
4.2.4 Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
4.2.5 National Commission for Women (NCW)
4.2.6 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
4.3 Programmes/Schemes of the MWCD
4.3.1 Swayamsiddha
4.3.2 Support for Training and Employment Programme (STEP)
4.3.3 Working Women Hostels and Crèches
4.3.4 Short Stay Homes for Women and Girls
4.3.5 Swawlamban Programme
4.3.6 Swadhar
4.3.7 Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers
4.4 Compensation to Rape Victims
4.5 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2006
5. Economic Empowerment of Women
5.1 Gender Discrimination in Wages
5.2 Strategies for Economic Empowerment of Women
5.2.1 Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
5.2.2 Gender-sensitive Agricultural Policies
5.2.3 Skill Development
5.2.4 Gender Mainstreaming in the Corporate Sector
5.2.5 Gender-friendly Insurance Schemes
5.2.6 Right to Maintenance
5.3 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005
5.3.1 Objectives and Significance of MGNREGA
5.3.2 Priority to Women
5.4 National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM)
5.4.1 Mahila Kisan Shasaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
5.5 Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY)
5.6 Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG), 2010
5.7 Gender-Sensitive Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy
5.8 Gender Budgeting and Women’s Component Plan (WCP)
5.8.1 Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)
5.8.2 Women’s Component Plan (WCP) in Five Year Plans
5.8.3 Gender Budgeting in Union Budgets
5.9 Summing Up
6. Progress and Performance of Women Self‐help Groups (WSHGs)
6.1 Saving-linked WSHGs
6.1.1 Commercial Banks
6.1.2 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
6.1.3 Co-operative Banks
6.2 Credit-linked WSHGs
6.2.1 Commercial Banks
6.2.2 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
6.2.3 Co-operative Banks
6.3 Loan Disbursement by Banks to WSHGs
6.3.1 Commercial Banks
6.3.2 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
6.3.3 Co-operative Banks
6.4 WSHGs: Problems and Challenges
7. Micro Finance: Areas of Concern
7.1 Inability to Generate Sufficient Funds
7.2 High Cost of Loans
7.3 Repayment Problems
7.4 Non-transparent Pricing
7.5 Cluster Formation to Grab Established Market
7.6 Multiple Lending and Over-Indebtedness
7.7 Poor Regulation and Supervision
7.8 Dropouts and Migration of Group Members

Appendix 1: Women Self-help Groups (WSHGs) in Maharashtra

Appendix 2: Twelfth Five Year Plan on Women Empowerment




Dr. Murlidhar A. Lokhande is Professor and Head of the Department of Commerce, Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra. He received his Post-graduate and Ph.D. degrees from the same university. He has authored 3 books and published several research papers and articles in reputed journals.

Dr. Lokhande has completed two research projects sponsored by the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi. He specializes in entrepreneurship and finance.

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