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North East India Summit on Women’s Finance & Empowerment (NEIS-WFE)

18 Jun, 2019

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Kaziranga University announces to organise a two-day summit on 'Women’s Finance &Empowerment' on 26-27 September, 2019

Context

Gender gaps widely persist in access to and the use of finance. Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to officials, managers, bank board members and regulators. Global gender gap is very persistent, meaning that women still account for the majority of the financially excluded worldwide, and gaps remain very large in some regions. While financial inclusion is an important goal in itself, new evidence suggests that greater inclusion of women as users of financial services has established positive macroeconomic outcomes as well.Needless to mention, increased access to and use of financial services like credit, savings, and insurance can help increase long-term macroeconomic growth.

During last decade or so there has been phenomenal growth in the number of people owning an account with financial institutions because of some special drive like PMJDY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana). However, the gender gap in account ownership has still remained at around 20%, which is quite high looking at the global trend. The World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2017 brought some startling data as far as women’s economic participation in India is concerned. Amongst the surveyed 144 countries India ranked 139th in women’s economic participation whereas 15th in political participation.

There is an interesting dimension too as regards women’s financial inclusion. Though absolute number of women having bank account is increasing, their accounts are, to a great extent, not managed by themselves precisely due to patriarchal societal structure and burden of managing the household chores and care. The general notion of higher social status of women in North East has been belied when we look at the NFHS-4 (National Family Health Survey-4) data of 2015-16. The percentage of women managing their own accounts amongst the North East states is even lower than some of the poorer states of central and eastern India. Only Sikkim shows above 60%, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh show between50-60% and Assam, Nagaland and Tripura show below 50 and 40 % respectively.

Existing Scenario of North East

Unlike other parts of India North East has altogether a different socio-economic and political landscape with diversities and complexities. In 8% geographic area of the country it inhabits about 3.7% of population with 2.7 per cent of the all-India Net Domestic Product (NDP), where more than 200 tribal and ethnic communities with diverse language, challenging terrains and cultures co-exist. Apart from ethnic diversities they vary in political economy, state vis-à-vis community governance system and accessing to financial services.

As per the CRISIL(Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) report of 2018, bank penetration in the North East region is 42.5, lowest; against an all India average 57.2 (as on 2016 fiscal year). On financial inclusion front the CRISIL Inclusix scores say that except Sikkim and Tripura all other states in the region are doing poor. Against an all India average of 58, Assam has 47.9, Mizoram 43.2, Arunachal Pradesh 34.7, Meghalaya 34.6, Nagaland 32.4 and Manipur 32.0. The region has more population per branch as compared with the population at All India level. The C-D ratio has been poor in the region comparatively within the country. However, growth of microfinance loan accounts in the region has been highest (46.8%) along with the North region (46.9%) during this period. Needless to mention, most of the MFIs’ clients are women. Many large and small Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) have been playing a very significant role in promoting women’s finance in the region. According to Sa-Dhan Bharat Microfinance Report 2017, there are at least 21 effective MFIs extending financial products in the different states of North Eastern India. National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and National Urban Livelihood Mission(NULM), the flagship livelihood promotion programmes of the government have been significantly changing the landscape of women’s finance by facilitating universal access to the affordable, cost effective and reliable financial services to the poor women. NRLM and NULM provide revolving fund, community investment fund and vulnerability reduction fund through banking services to strengthen women’s finance and their institutions. A good number of women have not only been able to access financial services, but also set examples of setting up microenterprises individually and in collectives. Besides, supplementing and strengthening their livelihoods, access to financial services has significantly helped women to have better quality of life through access to energy, health care, sanitation and education for children.

Need for regular reflection and sharing

Expanding the ambit of financial inclusion and promoting women’s finance being one of the focus areas of the micro-economic development discourses and SDGs it is imperative that the institutions promoting the same should take some time and reflect on what is working and why , what is not working and why , what can better work and how, whether growing digital literacy can be leveraged for financial inclusion, whether the policy environment is supportive and what are the critical bottlenecks etc. and share the learning to the larger stakeholdersof the region for making the women’s finance more vibrant in terms of its effectiveness and efficiency. Many of the institutions are doing commendable work with significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of the community, especially in the empowerment of women, but their work is not or lesser known to other stakeholders in the region. North East being in a different socio-political and economic landscape, it requires region specific platform to share the learning and enrich each other amongst the stakeholders where representatives from government , financial institutions, academic institutions, community based organisations, CSR initiatives and individual leaders and change makers must participate. This kind of learning platform can certainly be facilitated more effectively and efficiently by an academic institution. Besides, the tacit learning to be deliberated in the platform can be made as knowledge repository in instrumental forms. These are the broad objectives of the proposed Summit.

Strength of Kaziranga University

Kaziranga University takes this opportunity to organise this Summit, a first of its kind in the region in collaboration with the leading institutions in women’s finance and empowerment. Needless to mention that Kaziranga University has been organising its flagship policy advocacy programme called North East Sustainable and Inclusive Development Summit(NESIDS) since last two years in collaboration with CSIR-NISTADS, JNU, JamiaMillia, TISS, UNESCO and other universities and research institutions of national and regional importance and have been receiving overwhelming response.

Format of the Summit

 

Sl No. Theme No. of sessions Speaker/Presenter
1 Existing policy environment in Women’s Finance and challenges, with special reference to North East 1 Keynote speakers ( experts/thought leaders from the sector)
2 Women’s Finance vis-à-vis Empowerment 1 One academician and one practitioner
3 Stories of Financially Empowered Women in North East Region and the Key Learning from them* 2 (along with parallel exhibition/demonstration of some of their work) Institutions/Agencies promoting Women’s Finance & Empowerment
4 Deliberation on ways forward 1 Through Panel Discussion

*Institutions/agency will be provided academic support by the Kaziranga University to either rewrite/revisit the already documented case studies or undertake fresh documentation of cases(broadly on social impact assessment framework) which can be presented in the Summit.

Proposed Institutional Partners

  1. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Guwahati RO
  2. Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM)
  3. North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFI)
  4. Assam GraminVikash Bank
  5. North East Small Finance Bank
  6. Rastriya Grameen Vikash Nidhi (RGVN)
  7. MFIs and NGOs promoting Women’s Finance & Empowerment (names will be specified later)
  8. Innovative Change Collaborative (ICCo)
  9. FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO)
  10. CSR Initiatives

Proposed Academic Partners

  1. Assam Women’s University, Jorhat
  2. Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE)
  3. Centre for North East Studies & Policy Research, JamiaMilliaIslamia
  4. Centre for North East Studies & Policy Research, Guwahati
  5. Omeo Kumar Das Institute Social Change & Development
  6. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati Campus
  7. Women Studies & Research Centre, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh
  8. Others ( names will be added later)

Outcome of the Summit

Comments and feedback on the documented and presented case studies- social impact of the intervention in women’s finance and empowerment, will be recorded in the Summit and the Case Studies shall undergo several levels of iteration including effecting academic rigour and transforming them into instrumental knowledge system. The Compendium of Case Studies then will be published/printed for wider dissemination amongst the stakeholders. This event can be organised every year or once in two years and the output as well as the outcome can be used in evidence based policy advocacy with the law/policy makers. Besides, a knowledge sharing network will be created and hosted by Kaziranga University.

Registration for Participation and Collaboration

 

 SL No. Category  Registration/ Collaboration Fee (Rs) Accommodation & Food (Rs) per day Single Twin sharing
2 Representatives of NGOs/MFIs /Govt & Govt Projects 1000 1800 1000
3 Faculty member of University/College 1000 1800 1000
4 Research Scholar /Student* 500 1800 1000
5 Representatives of CSR initiatives 1000 1800 1000
6 Independent Consultant/Freelancer 700 1800 1000
7 Stall/Exhibition by NGO/MFI/Bank/GO 3000 (8×8ft) - --- ---
8 Collaboration 50000 --- ---

*Research Scholars/Students and others can also avail our hostel dormitory @ Rs 100/- per day, subject to availability.

Mode and time of Payment

Registration form can be downloaded from the link below, filled up and the scanned copy may be sent to the email ID provided on or before 31st August, 2019 for the purpose early registration. Spot registration may be allowed in exceptional cases. Payment needs to be made on the spot by submitting the original registration copy at the programme venue

For any query please call Ms Preeti Sarmah on 7002607842 or email : preeti@kazirangauniversity.in ct

You can also reach out to : bsmishra@kazirangauniversity.in or gbpatra@kazirangauniversity.in

Download Registration of NEISWFE