Meet on status of micro finance sector

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: Policy makers, representatives of banks and financial institutions and key stakeholders will deliberate on the status of the micro-finance sector in Rajasthan and develop a vision for its growth and expansion at a two-day Annual Micro-finance Colloquium beginning here on Wednesday.

The event, to be attended by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, is being organised by the Jaipur-based Centre for Micro-finance (CMF) in the wake of rapid strides made by the sector during the past five years, with the number of self-help groups linked with banks having shot up from 22,742 in 2003 to 1.37 lakh by March 2007.

Self-help groups

CMF Executive Director Jai Pal Singh told reporters here on Tuesday that the increase in terms of the amount of credit disbursed through self-help groups in the State was from Rs.21.8 crore to Rs.144 crore. However, there are still 30 lakh to 40 lakh households in rural areas and 15 lakh urban poor having no access to financial services from formal or semi-formal sources.

Mr. Singh said a few voluntary organisations had set up institutional mechanism for sustainable growth of micro-finance in the State and some of them were setting up separate organisations for financial intermediation. Some SHG clusters and SHG federations have also been established in the State.

A “Rajasthan Micro-finance Report-2007” will be released on the colloquium’s concluding day. Mr. Singh said the report would analyse the opportunities and challenges that needed to be worked upon for financial inclusion of the poor. Among others, noted economist V. S. Vyas and former Union Finance Secretary N. S. Sisodia are likely to attend the colloquium.