IFMR Center for Microfinance and the College of Agricultural Banking will be holding a two day conference titled ” Microfinance -Translating Research into Practice ” on January 12th and 13th in Pune , India.
Microfinance : Translating Research into Practice
The rapid expansion in Indian microfinance and several recent crises in the sector have led to a lively debate between government policymakers, for-profit microfinance advocates and critics, self-help group advocates and media outlets regarding the value and impact of microfinance. This year’s crisis in Andhra Pradesh in particular has prompted a rethink of the joint liability group and self-help group models which have dominated microfinance practice in India.
The crisis also raised questions about the advantages and disadvantages of for-profit microfinance. While advocates see the for-profit approach as a commercially viable way of reaching India’s millions of unbanked citizens, critics claim that microfinance institutions have abandoned social impact objectives for greater profits. Some practitioners see the self-help group model as the ideal way of extending financial services to the poor. The microfinance community finds itself divided on other issues as well: lending methodology, optimal investment models, regulation, and interest rates.
At a time of immense turmoil in the sector, people have begun questioning the approaches of the dominant actors, with different industry players claiming that their particular model of microfinance works the best. These contending claims force us to ask the question: How much do we actually know about the effectiveness of various microfinance models or about the financial behavior of the poor?
Academics and practitioners have conducted field-based studies that can help decision- makers answer questions about general access to finance, the dynamics underlying the financial behavior of the poor, and the impact of specially structured programs on low- income groups. They have embarked upon their work with the belief that rigorous research on the efficacy of different microfinance programs can inform policy and orient practice to better serve the needs of the poor.
In order to bridge the potential knowledge gap between academic researchers and decision- makers, it is essential to bring academics, microfinance practitioners, bankers and policy- makers together in a common forum. To this end, the College of Agricultural Banking, together with the Centre for Micro Finance at the Institute for Financial Management and Research will host their fourth annual conference, “Microfinance: Translating Research into Practice” on January 12th and 13th 2011 at the College of Agricultural Banking campus on University Road in Pune. The objective of the conference is to actively engage practitioners and researchers in discussion relevant to current and future microfinance practice. This year renowned development experts will be present to discuss results from a number of recent studies conducted in the area of financial services for the poor. High-level practitioners, bankers and government policy makers (see list of this year’s confirmed speakers on the next page) will also be present to discuss the potential challenges facing institutions that provide financial services to the poor.
To register for the conference, please contact:
Amulya Champatiray at firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Deepti KC at email@example.com , or
Shardul Oza at firstname.lastname@example.org
Speakers for this Year
Kamal Rajan – Principal, College of Agricultural Banking
Justin Oliver – Executive Director, Centre for Micro Finance
Doug Johnson – World Bank and Centre for Micro Finance
Vipin Sharma- CEO, Access Development Services
N. Srinivasan – Independent Consultant and Author, State of the Sector Report 2010
Deepali Pant Joshi – Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India
Ajay Tannirkulam – Programme Head, Centre for Micro Finance
Abhishek Sinha – CEO EKO-India
Rajiv Khandelwal – Founder and Director, Aajeevika Bureau
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh – Founder and CEO, Bandhan
Shamika Ravi – Professor Indian School of Business
Neelima Khetan – Chief Executive, SEVA-Mandir
Shawn Cole – Professor, Harvard Business School
Karna Basu – Professor, City University of New York
Graham Wright – Programme Director, MicroSave
Sanjay Sinha- Managing Director, M-CRIL
Bindu Ananth –President, IFMR Trust
Vishal Mehta- Founder and Managing Director, Lok Capital
P.N. Vasudevan – Founder and Managing Director, Equitas
Brij Mohan – Chairman Access Development Services
Y.C. Nanda – Chairman, Agricultural Finance Corporation
Jeremy Shapiro – Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University