Center for Micro-financing,
Skilling, Livelihood Enhancement
and Social Audits & Security Studies

Center for Micro-financing,
Skilling, Livelihood Enhancement
and Social Audits & Security Studies

Microfinance, also called microcredit, is a type of banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or groups who otherwise would have no other access to financial services. The goal of microfinance is to ultimately give impoverished people an opportunity to become self-sufficient. Micro-finance is a category of financial services targeting individuals and small businesses, who lack access to conventional banking and related services. Micro-finance includes microcredit, the provision of small loans to poor clients; savings and checking accounts; micro insurance; and payment systems, among other services. Micro-finance services are designed to reach excluded customers, usually poorer population segments, possibly socially marginalized, or geographically more isolated, and to help them become self-sufficient. Examples of micro-enterprises include basket-making, sewing, street vending and raising poultry. The average global interest rate charged on micro-loans is about 35%. Although this may sound high, it is much lower than other available alternatives (such as informal local money lenders).

Microfinance is the extension of small loans to the very poor, in combination with other financial services, such as savings accounts, training, health services, networking, and peer support. In this way, microfinance allows families to work to end their own poverty with dignity.

Who is eligible for microfinance in India ?
You should not have availed a loan from other MFI. You should not have pending loan amount of more than Rs. 1 lakh. You should be a working professional generating a steady income.

Micro-finance : then and now
Micro-finance initially had a limited definition: the provision of micro-loans to poor entrepreneurs and small businesses lacking access to credit. The two main mechanisms for the delivery of financial services to such clients were: (1) relationship-based banking for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses; and (2) group-based models, where several entrepreneurs come together to apply for loans and other services as a group. Over time, microfinance has emerged as a larger movement whose object is: "a world in which as everyone, especially the poor and socially marginalized people and households have access to a wide range of affordable, high quality financial products and services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, payment services, and fund transfers."

Many IISD studies have assess the impacts of various Micro-finance programs, till date from June 2008.

Proponents of micro-finance often claim that such access would help, for poor people to come out of the poverty. For many, microfinance is a way to promote economic development, employment and growth through the support of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses; for others it is a way for the poor to manage their finances more effectively and take advantage of economic opportunities, while managing the risks. Critics often point to some of the ills of micro-credit that can create indebtedness.

New research in the area of micro-finance call for better understanding of the micro-finance ecosystem, so that the micro-finance institutions and other facilitators can formulate sustainable strategies that would help create social benefits, through better service delivery to the low-income population.

A skill is the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self-motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be used only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

A skill may be called an art, when it represents a body of knowledge or branch of learning, as in the art of medicine or the art of war. Although the arts are also skills, there are many skills that form an art but have no connection to the fine arts. A practice is when they learned skill is put into practice. An art or skill may be the basis for a profession, trade, or craft. People need a broad range of skills to contribute to the modern economy. Through technology, the workplace keep changing.

IISD is working, in collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of Government of India and International Labour Organization (ILO), for creating more Green Jobs and employment opportunities, for the people of India.

Livelihood Enhancement
Livelihood enhancement and diversification has been recognised, by conservationists and development practitioners alike, as a mechanism to promote livelihood development and encourage people to move away from the harmful exploitation and degradation of natural resources. However, the majority of the efforts to support livelihood enhancement and diversification have, so far, tended to be supply-driven and focused on single, "blueprint" solutions. Such solutions are not built on an understanding of the underlying factors helping or inhibiting livelihood diversification, and often fail to appreciate the obstacles faced by the poor in trying to enhance and diversify their livelihoods.

The result has often been "alternative livelihoods" initiatives that promote unsustainable solutions that are poorly adapted to people's capacities, have limited market appeal and fail to reflect people's aspirations for their future.

IISD-CMI's Livelihood Enhancement Programs for poor Farmers, Fishermen, Rural Craftmen and Artisens of the Country, is one of the largest Non-profit Livelihood Support Programs of India. IISD-CMI collaborates, with Government of India, The United Nations, The World Bank and Corporates Social Responsibility (CSR) funds of the Corporates, to run this program. In addition, IISD-CMI is also generating some support from Fund Rising Platforms and organizing public programs as Gajal Night etc. for the Charity. IISD-CMI's this Livelihood Enhancement Programs largely focus giving Know-how, Knowledge, right training and capacity building to enable them, to choose Alternative Livelihood Options to grow further, through Climate Change Adoptation and other Livelihood Support Programs.

Social Audits
A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization's social and ethical performance. The term Social audit was also later used to refer to a form of citizen participation that focuses on government performance and accountability. It is qualitatively different from other forms of audit and citizenparticipation, whose main purpose is to express citizen's voice and promote a more inclusivegovernment, such as public demonstrations, advocacy and lobbying and/or public hearing initiatives.

The central objective of such a social audit is to monitor, track, analyze, and evaluate government performance, thus making public officials accountable for their actions and decisions. As an evaluation of government performance, a social audit exercise can be considered a mechanism of social oversight: that is, the control that citizens can exert on their government officials to ensure that they act transparently, responsibly and effectively.

Social audit activities can help measure public policy consistency between promises and actual results. Verifying consistency between plans/programs/policies and actual results can lead to improvements in many governance areas, and can translate into economic and social benefits. It can also play a critical role as an anticorruption tool in preventing corrupt practices and/or in providing evidence to expose wrongdoings. Ultimately, social audit paves the way to strengthen trust and confidence in the democratic governance process.

Social Audits are conducted as an official evaluation process by any organization. It is conducted when there is involvement of social responsibility projects. For Example: A company doing a CSR project for water & sanitation facilities in a near village of factory area. Then the company ask an organization to do the project for the development of facilities in the village. When at time projects get completed, the company hires another organization or the staff of own company to conduct the audit of the work done in the village that is called as a Social Audit.

In other words, we can say that how the process of work has been rolled out to the beneficiaries with the implementation of the project/projects. The process of that evaluation or auditing of the work with the social perspectives is called as Social Audit. In context of the government schemes, social audit is an accountability tool which helps to measure, evaluates, & identify gaps in the service with the participations of beneficiaries in the process.

It is mean to evaluate how scheme or program has been implemented. It is a process for evaluation, reporting & importing an origination's performance for measuring its effects on society. The social auditing can be used to produced a measure of the social responsibility of an organization.

Benefits Of Social Auditing:

  • Social auditing leads to a good governance. Which help the citizens to get better governance?
  • Social auditing even helps in reducing of the wastages.
  • Encourages community participation.
  • Allow the better implementation of policies & remove various social inefficiencies.
  • Create awareness amongst beneficiaries.
  • Provides social & productive services.
  • Uncover irregularities & wrong practices.
  • Improves Social performance.
  • Develops Human Resources & Social Capital.

IISD provides the Research, Consultancy and Evaluation services, through preparing Social Audit Reports of ongoing and completed Social Sector Programs of Central and State Governments, at different levels i.e. Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Gram Sabhas and Zilla Parishads etc.

Social Security Studies and Social Safety Nets
Social protection, alternatively called social security or social safety net programme, is a set of policies and programmes aimed at reducing social and economic risk and vulnerability of the poor, enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and loss of income, under emergency situations. Social Security is the foundation of economic security for millions of poor families of Retired, Street Vendors, Daily Wage Labourers, Construction Workers, Disabled or Deceased workers.

The social safety net (SSN) consists of non-contributory assistance existing to improve lives of vulnerable families and individuals experiencing poverty and destitution. Social safety nets have positive and significant impacts on education, health, and food security, but also promote households' ability to generate income that can lead to positive effects in local economies.

Safety nets often exclude a high proportion of the poorest households and fail to reach the most vulnerable groups. They should expand coverage in poor areas and make efforts to target migrants, orphans, and the urban unemployed, who face substantial livelihood risks and have limited social support.

While India and four other middle-income countries have the world's five largest social safety net programmes reaching over 526 million people, around 55 percent of the world's poor or 773 million people still lack safety net coverage. This despite the fact that a growing number of developing countries are investing in social safety nets to improve the lives and livelihoods of billions of poor and vulnerable people, according to a World Bank Group Report. There is an urgent calling for immediate action to close this coverage gap, The State of Social Safety Nets 2015, notes that more than 1.9 billion people in 136 low and middle-income countries, are now on beneficiary rolls of social safety net programmes.

IISD's Social Security Studies and Social Safety Nets Program, is driven by it's Social Sustainability initiatives. IISD along with it's Civil Society Partners, helps Government of India and State Governments and Union Territories, in identifing appropiate beneficiaries, who need social protection and the poor, who are left out, for their inclusion, under this initiatives.