Since Independence in 1947, the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have made concerted efforts to provide the poor with access to credit. Despite the phenomenal increase in the physical outreach of formal credit institutions in the past several decades, the disadvantaged sections of society including women continue to depend on informal sources of credit. Regular institutions have faced difficulties in dealing with a large number of small borrowers, whose credit needs are small and frequent and their ability to offer collaterals is limited. Besides, cumbersome procedures and risk perceptions of the banks leave a gap in serving the credit needs of the poor.
It is in this context that micro credit has emerged as the most suitable and practical alternative to the conventional banking in reaching the hitherto unreached poor population. Micro credit enables the poor people to be thrifty and helps them in availing the credit and other financial services for improving their income and living standards. The Self-help Group (SHG)-Bank Linkage Programme was formally launched in the year 1992 and aptly supported by the RBI through its policy support. The Programme envisages organisation of the rural poor into SHGs for building their capacities to manage their own finances and then negotiate bank credit on commercial terms. This book deals with the role of micro credit and SHGs in the socio-economic empowerment of women.
1. Credit, Gender and Empowerment - Rural Sponge; ; Dynamics of Rural Credit Delivery; Micro Credit: An Outline; Beyond Micro Credit; Rural Development Programmes; A Paradigm Shift; Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana; Self-help Groups (SHGs);
2. Mechanics of Self-help Groups (SHGs) - Introduction; Characteristics of SHGs; Grading of the SHGs; SHGs and Revolving Fund; SHGs and Bank Linkage; Different Models; Self-help Groups and Income Generation...;
3. Exploration Plan of the Study - What to Explore?; Conceptual Framework; Guiding Questions; Area Profile; Sampling Design; The Data;
4. Identities and Organizational Structures - Introduction; Age Structure; Caste; Religion; Marital Status; Education; Type of Family; Family Size; Occupation; Family Income; Organizational Structure of the Self-help Groups; Types of SHGs; Size of SHG; Duration of SHG Formation...
5. Economic Empowerment - Introduction; Savings; Loans; Economic Activity Index; Bank Linkage; Revolving Fund; Income Generation; Interface Profile; Individual Income Generation; Asset Entitlement; Economic Empowerment Index...;
6. Social Empowerment - Empowerment: A Holistic Approach; Credit for Empowerment Strategy; Changing Mindsets; Transformed Awareness; Information and Political Awareness; Transformation Potential; Operational Parameters and Social Autonomy; Social Empowerment Index; Summing Up;
7. Reflections - India?s Marginalised Groups; Role of Self-help Groups; Economic Empowerment; Social Empowerment; Experiences of Women; Functional Efficiency, Economic Activity and Economic Empowerment; Positive Outcomes; Negative Outcomes; The Way Ahead; Concluding Remarks.
Neeta Tapanis Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Higher Education Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh. Having been engaged in teaching and research for the last 20 years, she has more than 50 papers published in reputed journals and edited books. Her first book on Need for Women Empowerment was well-received. She has also been awarded the UGC-UNFPA Fellowship. She successfully completed a major research project funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. At present she is working on a project as a recipient of UGC Post-doctoral Research Award in Economics for 2009-2011.