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Financial Inclusion in Rural India: The Role of Microfinance and Small Finance Banks


Finance & Banking  •  10 Oct, 2023  •  55,610 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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India's journey towards equitable development is marked by its push for financial inclusion. The urban-rural divide, now more pronounced, calls for innovative solutions. Grassroots financial entities, notably microfinance institutions and small finance banks, are emerging as transformative forces, offering rural India the means for economic prosperity.

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Historical Background

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Previously, rural India lacked organised banking structures, leading to a heavy reliance on unregulated money lenders. This resulted in financial stagnation due to exorbitant interest rates and limited access. Traditional chit-fund systems and local money lenders, with their exploitative interest rates, exacerbated rural indebtedness.

However, the advent of microfinance and small finance banks has heralded a renaissance in rural financial infrastructure. This transition to organised financial systems encompasses not only monetary transactions but also the education of the masses in financial literacy.

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Microfinance: Definition and Purpose

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Microfinance pertains to the provision of financial services, including loans, savings, and insurance, to low-income individuals. In rural areas, these services enable the establishment of small businesses by entrepreneurs, equipment investments by farmers, and management of emergencies by families, thereby laying the foundation for self-sufficiency.

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