A Study of Microfinance as an Innovative Credit Delivery Mechanism in Rural India
The key problem of Indian agriculture is finance. Several weaknesses of the rural financial delivery system, have not been corrected even after almost 40 years of bank nationalization of 1969 which focused on enhancing the outreach and access to rural credit in India. In addition to reviewing agricultural credit policies followed in India and assessing the trends and progress in the credit flow and access, this paper aims at examining the suitability of government-directed microfinance activities as an alternate tool to the formal credit delivery mechanism in rural areas. Drawing upon the field surveys conducted in four districts of two federal states in India, the paper not only indicates the wide recognition the program has gained within the rural community but also reflects the inequitable impact of microfinance initiative, and highlights a few prominent flaws in program implementation and administrative mismanagement which reduce the effectiveness of the program. While the survey findings reveal the main problem areas like unfriendly attitude of bank officials, inaccessible bank branches, non-availability of timely and adequate credit, sub-optimal selection of key economic activities and market-related problems, the regression result points out that land-based activities are not remunerative for the microfinance beneficiaries. This analysis also indicates that literacy, interest rate on loanable funds, ownership of productive assets and savings are the major determinants of the income function. The paper concludes with some policy implications for improving the design for implementing the program. The paper adds to the extant knowledge about microfinance programs by comparing the performance of formal banking with the informal banking through microfinance initiatives in a developing country like India.
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Volume (Year): VIII (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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