The Government of India has launched several schemes to promote private enterprises in rural areas. These schemes primarily focus on building infrastructure to maximize economic growth for the poor. In addition, the Indian microfinance movement has expanded its focus beyond small loans to incorporate other aspects of household development, such as livelihoods and financial inclusion. While these initiatives are encouraging, it is not clear that specific programmes are always designed with the local context and needs in mind. In order to ensure the effectiveness of rural private enterprise initiatives, it is crucial to understand the opportunities currently available, the nature of the local market, market flows and status of entrepreneurship in rural areas, existing skills set and the required infrastructure.
IFMR LEAD’s Centre for Microfinance focuses on conducting a series of high-quality action-oriented research studies with an objective to improve design and delivery, and ultimately, the impact of livelihoods programmes in India. Specifically, our studies aim to understand how livelihoods interventions ranging from large government programmes to smaller targeted interventions, can provide the poor with the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to improve their standard of living.