Puducherry: Around 60% of India’s population was deprived of access to financial institutions, a top official of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) said on 23 January.
In most of the developed countries, this ‘financial exclusion´ was however less than 15%, said A Ramanathan, chief general manager, NABARD, while inaugurating a three-day international conference on ‘Micro Finance: a tool to eradicate Poverty‘ at Pondicherry University here.
He said that micro finance activities offered multifarious opportunities for research, career training and as an alternative credit delivery system for rural uplift.
Ramanathan wanted universities and higher educational institutions to offer courses in micro finance both at the graduation and post-graduation level.
J A K Tareen, vice chancellor of Pondicherry University said micro finance programmes would relieve poor villagers of their backwardness through financial accessiblity. He said that women empowerment was essential for the speedy progress of the nation.
With the affluent sections overshadowing the poor in a globalised and market-driven economy, there was every need to address the economic issues of the poor villagers.
K M Nair, chief general manager of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) South Zone, Chennai, said banks would consider the poor as entry-level customer and the SIDBI had been helping promotion of micro finance activities.
SIDBI was adopting a scientific approach to augment the capacity of the borrowers through a flexible approach.
Around 250 delegates from different parts of the country and also those from the UK, US, Germany, Sudan and Bangladesh participated in the deliberations.