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Raghav Gaiha & Vani S Kulkarni: Microfinance and empowerment

The empowering and protective roles of microfinance reinforce the case for it.  The 1990s were marked by partial deregulation of interest rates, greater competition in the banking sector, and a new nationwide microfinance initiative linking banks, NGOs and informal local groups (self-help groups, or SHGs). However, informal/local moneylenders continue to have a strong presence in rural India, delivering finance to the poor, as a vast majority of them still lack access to formal sources of finance. A major challenge, therefore, is to widen access to finance of the rural poor "" ...