WOMEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH MICROFINANCE INTERVENTION IN THE COMMERCIAL BANKS An empirical study in the Rural India with special reference to the state of Punjab Dr. Sangeeta Arora, Reader, Ms Meenu, Research Scholar Department of Commerce and Business Management, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India Abstract In a male dominated society, women have always been underestimated and discriminated in all spheres of life be it their family and social life or their economic and political life. Moreover, the traditional duties of managing households create hinderances in their social and economic empowerment. Over the years various efforts have been made by many Government and Non Government organisations to promote women empowerment especially in rural areas. One such effort is the microfinance intervention. Many leading public and private sector banks are offering schemes exclusively designed for women to set up their own ventures. Even the unorganized sector has been heading into microfinance movement. The present paper is an attempt to study the role of microfinance intervention in promoting women empowerment in rural India. An empirical study has been carried out in the state of Punjab. The objective is to analyze the use of micro financial services by the women clients and access their level of satisfaction with regards to these services. Keywords: Microfinance, Micro credit, Women empowerment, Financial inclusion
Introduction Women have been the most underprivileged and discriminated strata of the society not only in India but the world over. Inspite of all Government and Non-Governments’ efforts, they have been highly ignorant clients of the financial sector. In the recent times, microfinance has been emerging as a powerful instrument for empowering women particularly, the rural women. Apart from the informal sector of finance the formal and semi formal sectors like commercial banks, NGOs etc. are taking much interest in providing microfinance to women considering it to be a profitable commercial activity. Women are also participating in the microfinance movement by availing the microfinance services being provided by the various financial channels. Women empowerment is one of the most important issues that have been in the focus of various policies and programs initiated by the Govt. and the non-govt. organizations. Microfinance is one such effort that has been emerging as a powerful tool of women empowerment. It has been observed through the available literature that most of the studies related to microfinance have been carried out in the southern region of the country and very little efforts in this regard have been found in Punjab. The present study aims to fill in the gap in the available literature. It is a modest attempt to analyze the role of microfinance in women empowerment and the satisfaction level of the women towards microfinance services. Objectives of the study The study aims (i) To delve into the respondents’ preference for the formal and the informal sources of finance. (ii) To assess the level of satisfaction of the respondents with regards to the microfinance services. (iii) To analyze the level of impact of the microfinance services on the lives of the respondents.
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Meenu, et.al., Int. J. Eco. Res., 2011, 2(2), 35-45
Area of the study The study has been carried out in the rural area of the three districts of Punjab namely Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. For this purpose two blocks each district were selected. These are the major development blocks of the respective districts. Following is the sample distribution of the study Table I Sample Distribution Districts Amritsar Jalandhar Ludhiana Blocks (30) (35) (45)
Verka (15) Rayya (15)
Nurmahal (20) Nakodar (15)
Khanna (25) Doraha (20)
Data base and Research...