Rural Banks and Women Empowerment by Milan Banik
Since independence in 1947, the government of India, the Reserve Bank of India along with NABARD has made concerted efforts to provide the rural poor people with access to credit. Despite the phenomenal rise in the physical outreach of formal credit agencies in the last several decades, the disadvantaged sections of society including poor 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, but 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.
In the above background, micro-credit emerged as the best and practical alternative to the conventional banking in reaching the hitherto unreached poor population. This book assesses the role of LDRB, the only RRB in the study area, in advancing microcredit through NABARD’s ‘SHG-Bank Linkage Programme’ (19920) and the GOI’s ‘Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana’ (1999) in rural empowerment, especially, the empowerment of rural women in India, with special reference to Karbi Anglong District of Assam. Evaluating the performance of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) with a number of case studies, it tries to identify the factors that contribute to their successful performance and their sustainability. It also studies the level of participation of women in SHGs and examines the group dynamics that influence their participation in SHGs. The extent of involvement of the rural poor women in the microfinance institutions has also been analysed in details. Both the aforesaid programmes envisage organization of the rural women into SHGs for building their own capacities to manage the financial issues and then negotiate bank credit on commercial terms. This book deals with the role of RRB, microcredit and SHGs in the empowerment of rural women.
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