[QODLink]
101 East
Microfinance: Banking on debt
India is the home of microcredit but instead of alleviating poverty, for some borrowers it has led to greater hardships.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2011 12:06

Microfinance has long been seen as a way to lift the destitute out of poverty. But recently it has been hit by headlines about scores of Indian borrowers driven to suicide.

Critics say the industry has grown too fast, with loose regulation creating multiple loans to overextended borrowers and allowing some unscrupulous players to thrive.

A crackdown has now frozen microlending in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India's most important microfinance market, with the central bank stepping in to try and stop microfinance institutions from going bankrupt.

Yet supporters for microfinance argue that extending credit to the poor, mostly women, has fostered small businesses, helped promote gender equality, lifted incomes, and improved access to food and education for some of the world's most desperate citizens.

This week on 101 East we ask, what is the future of microcredit in India? Can it improve people's lives, or is it driving the poor into new cycles of unending debt?

This 101 East episode can be seen from Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230;Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.