Microfinance is inextricably linked with economic development. Provision of microcredit to the poor along with other support services enables them to set-up income generating activities. Creation and sustenance of income generation units, especially for women is a significant step in their empowerment which ultimately culminates in all round development of a society and region. The focus of this paper is on the development situation of the minority concentrated district of Mewat in Haryana where the self-help group model of microfinance has been prevalent for more than fifteen years. The objective of the present study is to examine the current status of economic development indicators in Mewat and the impact of microfinance on living standards and empowerment of women. The study reveals that the pace of economic development in Mewat is very slow especially in terms of female literacy and sanitation. On the other hand, there has been considerable increase in the income, expenditure and savings of the beneficiaries after joining the scheme. This has led to economic independence and raised the standard of living of the members. This shows that there is a positive correlation between microfinance and the socio economic living conditions of people. To magnify this correlation, the government programmes, policies and concepts on paper have to be translated on the ground so that the optimum level of development can be achieved.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN