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Micro finance Bill opposed

Special Correspondent

`State trying to withdraw from one of its primary responsibilities'


  • Call to redraft the Bill to address concerns raised by groups
  • The bill will impinge on the rights of women: Karat

    — Photo: Anu Pushkarna

    CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat addresses the National Convention on Micro Finance in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    NEW DELHI: Opposing the Micro Finance Sector (Development and Regulation) Bill 2007, women's activists on Tuesday appealed to the Government to redraft the Bill to address the concerns raised by the women's groups.

    In a memorandum submitted to Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, the women's groups — led by All India Democratic Women's Association and Samata, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti — said the structure of the Bill, as it existed today required some basic changes if the sector was to be promoted meaningfully and the ambit of the regulation widened if the disadvantaged rural and urban people were to be benefited.

    The memorandum pointed out through this Bill, the State was trying to slowly withdraw from one of its primary responsibility to bring equity and access to credit for the poor by handing over this function to micro finance organisations.

    Attempt to either use micro finance institutions as substitutes for formal banking or even as agents of the formal banking sector was unacceptable. A comprehensive development and regulation should help the micro finance sector grow in an orderly manner instead of handing over the responsibility to private sector and then try to control the same, the memorandum said.

    Further, it said the NABARD should be the implementing body for promoting credit functions of micro finance operations and should come under the overall supervision of the Micro Finance Development Council. Besides, there should be representatives from the National Commission for Women, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh and the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Panchayati Raj.

    Earlier, addressing a convention on the issue, Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat said instead of focusing on the women's problems, the Government had formulated a "black bill" that would negatively impinge on the rights and empowerment of women.

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