The ultimate goal of on-going microfinance movements should be the economic inclusion of all the economically excluded, weaker, and genuine backward sections of society. This will help to achieve economic decentralization, inclusive growth, and stem exploitation of economically vulnerable people. According to Mr Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh, microcredit is based on the premise that the poor have skills which remains unutilized or underutilized. It is definitely not the lack of skills which make poor people poor, but they lack technical and financial support to utilize their skills. He further says that charity is not the answer to poverty. It only helps poverty to continue. It creates dependency and takes away the individuals initiative to break through the wall of poverty. Unleashing of energy and creativity in each human being is the answer to poverty. The importance of microfinance in India is greater when country’s large number of people are still out of reach of institutional credit.
State of occupation in India
It is undeniable fact that India’s agrarian inequalities are deep rooted in the medieval feudal society. For a long period of time, few people exercised control on large land resources and large section served for them.
After independence, land reforms were initiated to grant tenants right over land. Now, in India, there are almost 80 percent of farmers belong to marginal class. It means they possess less than two hectares land.
Apart from this, landless labours either became causal labours or vendors in the industrial centres.
Considering all these things, we can conclude that in India, marginal, small farmers, landless labours constitutes almost 80 percent of Indian population.
These people are both financially excluded and socially neglected. But they deserve upliftment. Such huge section of society has great skill, sweating, toiling capacity, but they don’t have technical and financial support which could help them to withstand in the fast moving competitive world. In this situation, importance of microfinance in India is lot more.
As a matter of fact, in India 78 p.c. farmers possess only 32 p.c. of country’s land resources and there are only 21p.c.of farmers who possess country’s 70 p.c. land resources. Neither government nor any MNCs in the world have capacity to provide 10 crores jobs in the 5 years period.
With this, population is increasing very rapidly. During 2001-2010 period, it increased by more than 20 crores which is a big threatening call. After independence, trickle down approach had hardly trickled in the parched regions. Conversely, it created regional and social disparities.
Today, the strategy of mass production should be replaced by the production by masses strategy. And, for this purpose, apart from skill and resources, finance is inevitable. Considering present condition, importance of microfinance in India, to fuel the productive activities is more than ever.
Since ancient times, world recognized the abilities of Indian artisans in the various handicraft products. Today, these people cannot access institutional credit duo to procedural bottlenecks. On the other hand, credit of moneylenders isn’t affordable.
Through micro-finance movement, these people can increase theirs financial accessibility through registered Self-Help Groups. By registration they could become eligible for bank’s concessional loan as per the Central Bank’s recent guideline. In this way, they can increase theirs economic capabilities and only then, they could divert such money for income generating activities. In this manner, we can rejuvenate the dying down entrepreneurial skills.
Traditional legacy of skills
In the country like India where scheduled tribes and nomadic people are master in leather work, bamboo related products and even in the master in carpet making as well as carpentry. Naturally, they live in hilly, mountainous and drought prone areas where agriculture and industries are not viable. Thus, by providing proper training, technological equipments, tools, assured credit supply as well as market, nation can initiate green industrial development by preserving nature’s carrying or regenerating capacity.
There is no dearth of mediums to spread awareness and make this initiative successful.Through volunteers and officials, they could guide these people about the financial sources, and the related benefits and can empower them to start various occupational activities.
Initially, it will take time, but, later it will become self-sustaining and will prove effective tools to liberate our vulnerable sections from the shackles of poverty and backwardness, and once non-bankable community will become the bankable or financer for themselves or for others.
Handicraft-a great opportunity
If we talk about the handicraft, its export is stood at 24000 crores rupees with an increase of 20 p.c. from previous years. It provides 70 Lakh employment especially majority is of women. Out of 70 Lakh, 30 Lakh are male and 40 Lakh women. Undoubtedly, it has high employment potential and need low capital investment with possibility of foreign exchange earnings.
Truly, Handicrafts represent the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our country and it preserves the heritage, traditional skill and talent. Now onwards, by infusing credit, technical support and confidence among our artisan community, we can provide desired pace for this stagnating movement.
Undoubtedly, microfinance movements have great potential to unleash the untapped potential of Indian artisans, small and marginal farmers. It could prove a path breaking initiative in the direction of economic inclusion. Therefore, after understanding the importance of microfinance in India, we should strengthen this movement to circulate capital in the parched regions of nation.
I do not want to make poor people rich by making rich poor but empowering them to become active producers or entrepreneurs.
Democracy without social equality and economic justice is like the soil without fertility.
If we want to bring quality democracy, we have to ensure democratic values in the economic system of nation. This could only be achieved through the equal participation of workers, farmers, and artisans without discriminating on any ground, in the economic growth of our country. For this, microfinance movements have a lot to offer.