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

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Shifting Trajectories in Microfinance Discourse

Microfinance was earlier viewed as a "silver bullet" that could pull poorer households out of poverty. Since the 1990s, the approach has been more cautious emphasising the "protectional" aspects as opposed to the "promotional" dimensions of microfinance. A defining feature of the micro-credit scenario in India, as opposed to the Bangladeshi experience, has been the significant role played by public sector formal lending institutions in the establishment and expansion of financial intermediation through self-help groups. Today, the SHG-bank linkage programme is arguably the world's largest microfinance programme in terms of outreach. In the light of issues and concerns raised by research on the Bangladesh microfinance experience, this paper asks whether these could adequately serve as a lens through which Indian SHG-based microfinance could be critically examined, given the crucial organisational and institutional differences between Indian and Bangladeshi microfinance.

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