Abstract

Although the end of India’s microfinance market was predicted by market commentators in 2011, more than 74.30 lakh savings-linked self-help groups (SHGs) that covered over 9.7 crore poor households were found to be existent on 31 March 2014. The quantity of credit-linked SHGs was 41.97 lakh under the programme and the total savings of such SHGs with banks was Rs. 9,897.42 crores. The state government of Andhra Pradesh had sought to forbid the micro-loans business. However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dealt with the microfinance sector in a thoughtful and vigilant manner after the crisis. Banks were totally refinanced by the RBI for the SHGs’ financing. The SHG-Bank Linkage Programme (SHG-BLP) was first launched as a prototype in 1992 and it has expanded considerably. The SHG-BLP programme began in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and it has gradually spread to all parts of the country. The review of existing studies reveals that individuals, institutions, or research agencies have analyzed the prospects of women’s socio-economic status and microfinance. Yet, the evaluation of the economic empowerment of group members and their families has been emphasized by the scholarly assessments of the impact of microfinance. The social effect of microfinance is examined by relatively few studies, which have exclusively relied on the evaluation of individual group member’s social empowerment. Although agencies examined the socio-economic impact of the programme, they were not comprehensive and complete in their approach. The programme can be improved by understanding the reasons of its functioning and by assessing whether people benefit out of it. The present study has been undertaken to encompass various dimensions of microfinance in respect of improvement in social conditions of women SHG members, specifically in Malenadu region in the state of Karnataka.