Sa-Dhan, an association of Impact Finance Institutions including MFIs and an SRO, organised a ‘South Indian Conference on Financial Inclusion’, a regional level conference, at Chennai on 22 Feb 2023. Inaugurating the Conference, Shaji KV, Chairman NABARD said that “microfinance sector has aided the financial inclusion process in the South. The sector needs to move forward and support the graduation of its borrowers to higher enterprise activities and NABARD would support such activities.” He also said “the new policy of the central government to create activity specific cooperative societies and strengthen the existing cooperative societies by computerisation and converting them into multi cooperative societies will benefit the rural people to access credit and other services.”
Hansraj Verma IAS, Addl Chief Secretary and CMD TIIC said that “Growth of the economy will be possible only if the women in this country are empowered and helped to create enterprises. The Government of Tamilnadu is providing full support to such endeavours, keeping its overall goal of making Tamilnadu a I trillion economy by 2030” He also stressed the need to support women micro enterprises and advised the the microfinance sector to aid this process.
Uma Shankar CGM RBI lauded the contribution of microfinance sector in the financial inclusion process in the country. She cautioned the MFIs to avoid any kind of indiscriminate lending which can lead into over indebtedness. She said that “the new regulatory norms have given a lot of freedom for MFIs to decide their lending policy including the pricing. But it should not lead to higher indebtedness and over pricing”.
Welcoming the participants Jiji Mammen ED &CEO Sa-Dhan said that “the South Indian conference is the first of its kind at a regional level being organised by Sa-Dhan. The idea of the conference is to learn the successful experiences of Southern States in achieving the financial inclusion goals, especially the initiatives and innovations made in the microfinance sector and could be replicated in other parts of the country”. He said that Sa-Dhan would organise similar conferences in other regions also so that cross learning will be possible.
The conference deliberated on the role of microfinance in achieving financial inclusion in South, the facilitating ecosystem which aided such achievement, innovations and impacts made by microfinance sector and the opportunities and challenges in extending credit to microfinance institutions in achieving the financial inclusion goals.
The conference has four sessions which deliberated these topics. The speakers included S Srimati, ED IOB, Paul Thomas CEO ESAF Bank, Sadaf Sayeed CEO Muthoot Microfin , Dr. Diwakar Hegde, MD, NABFINS, Venkat Krishna CGM, T Salimat CEO IDF, L H Manjunath, CEO SKSRDP, Isabella, CEO REPCO microfin, Raveendrababu, CEO Asirvad microfinance, and Kalpana Sankar, CEO Bellstar. The sessions were moderated by Raghuvir Srinivasan, CP Mohan, CS Reddy and Tamal Bandopadya. More than 200 participants from various stakeholders attended the conference