Kerala Association of Microfinance (KAMFI) in association with ASSOCHAM, Southern chapter, organized a conference on 'Achieving inclusive Growth - Role of MFIs' in Thiruvananthapuram on May 24, 2012. K. C. Joseph, Minister for Rural Development inaugurated the one day workshop held at Hotel Windsor Rajadhani. In his inaugural address the Minister, while replying to a query from the KAMFI Chairman, promised all help to the MFIs, provided they go by the rule of the game and conduct themselves in a transparent manner. He added that the Government was committed to grant benefits to all players on a par with the flagship Kudumbashree poverty alleviation program.
K. Paul Thomas, Chairman KAMFI and Managing Director, ESAF Microfinance during his speech made the request to the State Minister to exempt MFIs from the provisions of the Money Lenders Act as in the case of Nidhi companies and Cooperatives. He added that MFIs are finding it difficult to get bank finance since they are not exempted from the act. The Chairman of KAMFI also requested the State Government to devise a scheme to set apart a share of assistance to each account enrolled under the Swavalambhan National Pension Scheme.
He also cited the case of a few states which have launched their own co-contributory schemes for some specified occupational groups. A prescribed sum would be contributed by the State Governments to the eligible subscribers of the respective State. ESAF Microfinance is one of the few Organizations selected by the Central Government to implement the National Pension Scheme.
M.M. Hassan heading Janasree Mission, also participated in the function. The former Minister for Information and Parliamentary Affairs opined that Banks should be willing to reduce interest on loans given to MFIs. He also suggested that Government should extend an 'Organizational Grant' along the lines of 'Organizational Expenses' to Co-operative Societies. Asad Wasi, Director ASSOCHAM Southern Region and E. Najeeb, President, Chamber of Commerce, Thiruvan-anthapuram also spoke on the occasion. In the afternoon, A. Akbar, Strategic Advisor, ESAF Microfinance led a discussion on the topic ‘Risk related to MFIs’, and R. Prabha, Board Member, ESAF Microfinance led a discussion on the topic ‘Regulatory Guidelines’.
ASSCOHAM Bangalore, KAMFI, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Muthoot Fincorp were the Chief sponsors of the program.