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

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An Architectural Plan for a Microfinance Institutional Network

This paper proposes an architectural design for a microfinance service delivery network. It emphasises that savings followed by credit, insurance and money transfer, in descending order of priority, are the most important financial services needed by the poor. Microfinance may be classified as primary and secondary. Whereas the primary microfinance service includes savings, credit, insurance and money transfer, the secondary service includes enterprise credit, pension, equity transaction, leasing, etc. The paper then argues that competition with compassion and right to earn profit under the lens of a rational regulatory and supervisory framework and governmentâ??s active participation in capital formation, both human and physical, are the major forces necessary to fuel the healthy, sustainable and useful growth of microfinance institutions. The paper finally proposes a layout of the MF network, defining the roles of different entities, viz, government, central bank, microfinance authority, banking partner, rating agency, deposit insurance agency, promoter, capital provider, human capital building institution and, finally, MF clients.

Commercial Bank Lending to Small-Scale Industry

It is believed that the working capital support extended by commercial banks to small-scale industry is far from adequate. Although the SSI is a part of the priority sector, its share in total priority sector advances of all scheduled commercial banks has been falling consistently from around 39 per cent in 1992 to around 24 per cent in 2004. This paper examines the trends in sectoral allocation of bank credit to the SSI vis-Ã -vis the non-SSI sector in the post-reform period. The paper also makes an attempt to understand the variations in bank credit to the SSI sector across bank groups, and also the influence of the size and performance of banks on credit to the SSI sector. The results indicate that the high incidence of bad loans arising out of SSI advances could be one of the reasons for the declining share of SSI loans of the commercial banks.

Equity, Access Allocation: Discrimination in an Irrigation Project

Rising population and over-exploitation of groundwater for irrigation has aggravated conflict among farmers located at the upper reaches and the tail end of the Palkhed canal system of the Upper Godavari project of Maharashtra. The formation of water users' associations did alleviate the conflict to some degree, but there continues to be disagreement between the government's water department and the WUAs on the terms of allocation and other measures.

Contending Water Uses: Social Undercurrents in a Water-Scarce Village

Conditions of water scarcity have been aggravated in Vadali village of Gujarat due to the persisting differences between higher castes, chiefly the ahirs, and those lower in the hierarchy such as the kolis and other dalit castes. Power relations are linked to social and economic hierarchy and the issue of resource inequity must be tackled through policy and advocacy measures.

Water Quality: Unclogging the Khari River

This case study reports on how the various stakeholders came together to alleviate the problem of effluents discharged by factories in the industrial estates on the eastern periphery of Ahmedabad into the Kharicut canal that flows into the Khari, a tributary of the Sabarmati.

Transboundary Disputes: Two Neighbours and a Treaty

Pakistan has objected to several features of the Baglihar hydropower project on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir contending that it violates the Indus Water Treaty. The World Bank, which brokered the IWT, has appointed a neutral expert to resolve the differences. Diplomats fear these developments might cast a shadow on the composite dialogue process as seeking arbitration on the dam means breaking out of the bilateral framework.

Water Quality: Bridging the Ganga Action Plan

This article analyses the implementation of the Ganga Action Plan and the various reasons for its failure in the highly polluted villages of Jajmau, clustered near Kanpur city.

Privatisation: In Chhattisgarh, a River Becomes Private Property

The Chhattisgarh government handed over a stretch of the Sheonath river to a private company to manage water distribution without setting up independent regulatory authorities that could establish guidelines under which a private firm could manage a common resource. A long lease without a regulatory mechanism can lead to unforeseen circumstances

Sand Mining: Groundwater Depletion in Papagani Catchment

Illegal and excessive sand mining in the riverbed of the Papagani catchment area in Karnataka has led to the depletion of groundwater levels and environmental degradation in the villages on the banks of the river in both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Micro-Level Disputes: Traditional Water Harvesting Structure

The work of Tarun Bharat Sangh in Rajasthan has received much attention. There is an urgent need though to question development challenges that go overboard in extolling the virtues of greenery without tracing the hands that own the land and harvest the fruits of public money.

Dams and Displacement: Alternative Restructuring of the Sardar Sarovar

The Sardar Sarovar Project has been the focus of a long drawn-out conflict between the Gujarat government and experts, on the one hand, and anti-big dam activists, on the other. This is a revisiting of the principles behind an alternative that was articulated 10 years ago, but is still relevant today.

Contending Water uses

The conflict over the use of the waters of the Panchna dam for the Keoladeo National Park, in which upstream farmers in the command area of the dam have staged protests, is about rapidly decreasing water supply amidst a growing number of users. There is a need to increase the quantity of available water, though the government's plan to supply chemically-treated drinking water to the park, as part of a larger scheme, will condemn millions of fish, invertebrates and amphibian young to oblivion.

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