A tsunami of debt is building up in Tamil Nadu – and no one knows where it is headed

G Venkatasubramanian trots out some astonishing numbers. Over the last 15 years, he and his fellow researchers at Pondicherry’s French Institute have been studying debt bondage among families in 20 villages in Tamil Nadu. Half of these settlements are in the coastal district of Cuddalore, and the others are in the adjoining district of Villupuram. […]

the new, new contours of financial inclusion

from the et special issue on modi sarkar completing 100 resplendent days in power, this story on financial inclusion… Every two years, India’s financial inclusion drive reformats itself into a brand new, entirely unrecognisable avatar. Till about three years ago, it starred banks, the Reserve Bank of India and banking correspondent companies. Then came DBTs […]

with the standing committee rejecting the mfi bill, old questions come back to haunt MFIs

and, after a long time, i write again on india’s search for regulatory mechanism for microfinance. With the Standing Committee on Finance rejecting the latest avatar of the microfinance bill, old questions about the microfinance sector have resurfaced. Since 2010, when the controversial Andhra Pradesh ordinance made it all but impossible for Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) […]

MFI Regulation, Part four. Why states should have a role

all right. so, here is something puzzling. Microfinance practitioners insist their embattled industry should not be regulated by state governments. State governments, they say, do not know how to regulate financial organisations. Keeping microfinance institutions (MFI) under the purview of the state government, they add, will leave microlenders vulnerable to political pressures. It is a […]

on the draft bill that seeks to set microfinance right

With the Finance Ministry completing its draft Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill, another large piece of the puzzle on how to regulate Microfinance Institutions has fallen into place. It has been a tough puzzle to crack. In the beginning of last year, when complaints about women being pushed into debt traps were gathering pace, […]

MFI regulation: Part Three

With SKS Microfinance challenging Andhra Pradesh’s controversial microfinance law in the Supreme Court, India might soon have an answer to the question: who should regulate microfinance institutions (MFIs), the Centre or the states? This is a question that needs an immediate answer. As non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), MFIs are regulated by the RBI. Being financial […]

Malegam-med

a day after after the initial optimism, the mfis figure that the old adage of ‘what one hand giveth, the other taketh away’ fits the malegam committee report perfectly. A day after a central bank appointed committee submitted its report, small microfinance institutions (MFIs) say the recommendations if accepted would wipe away their presence in […]

Aberration or Synecdoche: Reflections on suicides amongst microfinance borrowers in Andhra Pradesh. Circa 2006.

right. continuing with my highly successful strategy of driving readers away by never posting anything less than 5,000 words long, here is the term paper i just submitted on the microfinance suicides that india saw in march last year. as ever, comments welcome. “One Rennu Chandramma of Chenchu colony on the Chandraiah drain bund in […]