Role of Microfinance in the Socio Economic development of Women
With financial inclusion emerging as a major policy objective in India, the abolition of the rural –urban divide and the inclusive growth of citizens of India can be achieved by providing finance to people when they require it. Among the policies related to poverty reduction, microfinance and microcredit programmes occupy a central position. Rural microfinance has occupied center stage as a channel for extending financial services to unbanked segments of the population. The objective of offering women the access to microfinance services is that gender inequalities inhibit economic growth and development. There is a growing appreciation of the “empowerment” dimension of finance, as it can give ordinary people and the poor access to opportunity. As for the whole of India, and therefore in J&K, the concept of inclusiveness goes beyond the conventional objective of reduction in poverty to encompass equality of opportunity for all, as well as economic and social mobility for all with favorable action for minorities and women through promoting entrepreneurship. There must be equality of opportunity to all with freedom and dignity, and without social or political obstacles. This must be accompanied by an improvement in the opportunities for economic and social advancement. Micro finance in J&K is still in its initial stage. With J&K in the lowest position of microfinance penetration intensity, measures have to be taken to increase this level of penetration for a better economic scenario. Efforts towards reduction in social and economic disparities can work as a prospective catalyst for the smooth transition of J&K into an economically better state. In particular the females in J&K should also be provided special opportunities for developing their skills, building social & human capital through increase of intangible assets like self respect, self esteem, self confidence, trust and positive attitude change & thus ensuring inclusive growth. The emphasis of this paper is that microfinance needs to be designed not as an economic model but as a holistic approach towards the growth of J&K.
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