Financial inclusion and poverty alleviation: an alternative state-led microfinance model of Kudumbashree in Kerala, India
The study examines the microfinance and microenterprise model of Kudumbashree, the state poverty eradication mission of Kerala, and its impact on poverty alleviation in the state of Kerala in India. Kudumbashree's method of identification of the poor is seen to be superior to the conventional head count ratio as it captures the multidimensional characteristics of poverty leading to lesser chances of exclusion of vulnerable families. The microenterprise-linked microfinance model of Kudumbashree has established itself as an effective model linking the state, community, and financial organizations, differentiating itself from other NABARD-led self-help group (SHG) programmes or the Grameena model of microfinance institutions in the country. The fundamental idea of local economic development on which the microenterprise business is built is, however, not free from limitations. Heavy reliance on local markets for procuring inputs and selling outputs makes the products less competitive, questioning the sustainability of a business-led model in the absence of state subsidy in the longer run.