Kshamta – A Conference on Microfinance and Livelihoods

India has been experiencing a growth of 9% over the past few years. The benefits of this high growth were expected to trickle down to all the sections of the society. However that has not taken place which is reflected by the low ranking of India in the World Human Development Index. Inequitable distribution of benefits of growth has resulted in exclusion of large population from the mainstream economy. This exclusion would result in serious constraints to the future of economic growth. In order to sustain the current economic growth the society needs to grow inclusively. Considering the relevance and importance of discussing the above situation Civil Corporation Committee (CCC) and Finance Faculty at TAPMI organized a first of its kind Conference – Kshamta – A Conference on Microfinance and Livelihoods – Strategy for inclusive growth – on 19th January 2008. The theme was to look beyond traditional micro-credit and use the microfinance infrastructure to achieve inclusive growth.
Eminent personalities from the field of microfinance and development participated in the conference and shared their views. The participants for the conference were – Prof. Malcolm Harper – Chairman MCRIL, M. P. Vasimalai – Executive Director, DHAN Foundation, Vineet Rai – CEO, Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Fund, C. P. Mohan – DGM, NABARD, Prof. Samapti Guha – Asst. Prof. TISS, Mumbai.

The topics discussed at the conference were – Microfinance and Poverty Reduction, Microfinance in India and its Problems, What is wrong with Microfinance, Inclusive Growth – Need of Convergence and Sustainable investing. The discussions brought forth the point that microfinance has mostly become a profit making venture over poverty mitigation, there is need to look beyond the debt and model of microfinance delivery, microfinance is an infrastructure and this framework can be used deliver more in terms of livelihoods – Microfinance Plus. Venture capitalists in microfinance and livelihoods domain like Vineet Rai stressed on promoting ideas at bottom of pyramid through Reinforcing Investment cycle and which would build microfinance institutions.

A round table towards the end of the conference worked as a facilitator for debate and convergence of views expressed in the first part of the conference by the participants. There were views and counter views expressed on demand, supply, scalability, profit motives, need to promote livelihoods, corporate CSR and microfinance, role of regulator and so on.

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