Ramesh S Arunachalam
It is very easy to talk high flying concepts at conferences, however, much of the intended strategies are not implemented and that is something that conference organizers must take notice of with regard to financial inclusion and/or microfinanceThe Sa-Dhan FICCI Financial Inclusion Conference 2012i, themed as “The First Mile Walk into the Financial System” is to be held on 7th and 8th August at the sprawling Hotel Ashok, New Delhi.
At the outset, Sa-Dhan and FICCI must be congratulated for continuing their focus on financial inclusion, which is indeed a very important aspect in India today. That said, I have some very fundamental issues with the design of the conference and the messages that it is intending to send out and I attempt to highlight these below:
First, this whole notion of financial inclusion being a static phenomenon is rather peculiar. Inclusion is a dynamic activity and people get included and excluded, time and again. Many of the families that were (financially) included in the Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) were subsequently excluded. Likewise, some farmers who were included in the mainstream financial system (before the major agriculture debt waiver that happened a few years ago) have perhaps now been excluded. Similarly, perhaps, many of the clients who did not repay in the aftermath of the 2010 Andhra Pradesh (AP) microfinance crisis and ordinance, will now become official ‘defaulters’—if and when the great Indian microfinance credit bureaus become completely operational—and thereby possibly get (re) excluded again!
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