ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Tara S Nair

Women in Cinema Collective and the Malayalam Film Industry

In May 2017, in a pioneering move, a group of women creative workers from the Malayalam film industry formed the Women in Cinema Collective to address gender issues in the sector. The formation of the collective not only challenges the patriarchal world view of Indian cinema, but has dragged into the limelight the ugly underbelly of commercial film-making controlled by cliques, cartels, and celebrity power. On a more positive front, it prepares the ground for women who are joining the film industry in larger numbers to lay claim to legitimate spaces for self-actualisation and creative satisfaction.

Microfinance: Lessons from a Crisis

The rural distress in Andhra Pradesh has been more than evident in reported incidents of farmers' suicides and hunger deaths. The incidence of indebtedness, particularly among small and marginal farming households in the state, is the highest in India. By passively encouraging microfinance institutions to expand without limits in a policy and institutional vacuum, the state had created the conditions for a crisis. This is the time for finding out the pros and cons of completely trusting a credit-based poverty reduction strategy to the neglect of more critical structural and institutional solutions.

Commercial Microfinance and Social Responsibility: A Critique

Working within the logic of maximising investor returns, the strategic focus of Indian microfinance institutions seems to have shifted from serving the poor borrowers to chasing profits. The commercial transformation of MFIs has been accompanied by changes in the structure of ownership, management and nature of their stakeholder commitment. This essay discusses some of the critical inadequacies in the approaches advocated and currently practised by the commercial MFIs in order to restore the sector's focus on poor borrowers.

Gujarat : Earthquake Plan Prepared in Haste

The rehabilitation package, prepared in unhealthy haste by the government, is based on conventional bureaucratic understanding and interpretation of people's needs and priorities. While it is incredibly vocal about estimates of damage, the specific delivery mechanisms are unclear. Also, it completely ignores the problems of economic rehabilitation of the survivors.

Institutionalising Microfinance in India

There has been an increasing tendency to use the term microfinance - seen to be the most effective intervention towards poverty alleviation, to refer solely to formalised institutions - leaving aside a large informal section, that could include individuals and informal associations as well. Current efforts to mainstream microfinance operations in the non-financial sector of the country, while acknowledging the failure of state-owned credit institutions, should also take into account, among others, the programmatic success of several intermediary developmental institutions like the small savings and credit groups that have proved not only profitable but an effective poverty alleviation measure.