Micro-finance and rural poverty in india : SHG–bank linkage programme

This paper reviews the progress of SHG-Bank linkage programme at the national and regional levels, and examines its impact on the socio-economic conditions of SHG member households. The programme has grown at a tremendous pace during last two decades and emerged as the most prominent means of delivering micro-finance services in India. Though the regional spread of the programme is highly skewed with highest concentration in the southern region, it has started picking up pace in other regions. The average annual net income, assets and savings of SHG member households increased significantly in the post-SHG situation. The average amount of loans and the regularity in repayment of loans increased, and the dependence on moneylenders decreased remarkably. The percentage of loans used for productive purposes and employment per household increased, the incidence of poverty among SHG members declined, and the social empowerment of women improved significantly. The study offers important policy suggestions.