DelPHE project workshop in Ghana
Dr.Mercia Selva Malar, HOD-Insurance and Banking, attended the partnership workshop of DelPHE project held at University of Cape Coast, Ghana, on January 7 and 8, as the representative of the lead partner, SCMS-COCHIN. The workshop was an attempt to fine tune the research methodology to be adopted for the DelPHE project, the multi-country research project. in microfinance bagged by SCMS-COCHIN from the Department of International Development (DFID), UK.
Representatives of the other three partners like University of Central Lancashire, UK, Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania, and YAALEX Investments, Ghana, also participated in the workshop along with the professors of the University of Cape Coast.
Dr.Mercia also participated in the Annual Conference on Microfinance organised by the University of Cape Coast on the theme: Beyond Existing Microfinance- What next?
There was also a visit to Yaalex Investments Ltd., the partner institution in Ghana.
International Conference on Microfinance and Poverty Eradication
Dr.Thomas Issac, Finance Minister, inaugurated
The two-day International Conference on Microfinance and Poverty Eradication organized in association with University of Central Lancashire, UK. was inaugurated by Dr.T.M.Thomas Issac, Financé Minister, Kerala, on December 7. Kudumbasree, the popular microfinance organisation of Kerala, with a membership of 3.7 million women belonging to weaker sections, is doing a laudable service for eradication of poverty in the state, said the Minister Dr.Thomas Issac in his inaugural address.
The Minister also launched the multi-country three-year research project (DelPHE project ) bagged by SCMS-COCHIN from the Department of International Development (DFID), UK Developing Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) is a research and training programme in microfinance for gaining in-depth insight into the working of models of microfinance in various countries. The study is being conducted by SCMS-COCHIN, in partnership with University of Central Lancashire, UK, YAALEX Investment Ltd., Ghana, and Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania. The Minister expressed hope that the study would bring out very useful insight that might help us to improve our prevailing practices in microfinance management.
Dr.G.P.C.Nayar, Chairman, SCMS Group, in his presidential address, stated that the multi-country research project has come to SCMS-COCHIN on account of its merit as an academic institution of excellence.
Dr.V.Raman Nair, Director, SCMS-COCHIN, welcomed the dignitaries. Dr.R.Ram Mohan, Director, Research and Training, spoke on the scope of the DelPHE project. Dr.T.G.Arun, Professor, University of Central Lancashire, UK, presented the key-note address. Dr.Mercia Selva Malar, Professor and HOD, proposed the vote of thanks.
Dr.Satta Tadeo, Associate Professor, Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania, Mr.Samuel Ammin, Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, also participated in the inaugural function.
Representatives of the partner institutions – SCMS-COCHIN, University of Central Lancashire, UK, YAALEX Investment, Ghana, and Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania – lead the deliberations of the technical session that followed. The session examined and evaluated the status and scope of the preparatory work done in connection with the research project and deliberated on the work progress and effective means of achieving tangible outputs that would be useful to the academia and the industry.
In the second technical session, on the second day, critical factors and emerging issues in funding microfinance institutions were discussed in detail. Shri. A.V.V.Subramanian, AGM, NABARD, Smt.Indumathi Sridhar, DGM, SIDBI, Shri. Jaya Prakash, Lead Bank Manager (UBI), Ernakulam District, and Shri. Somi John, Assistant Manager, HDFC, and representatives of the partnering institutions presented their views Dr.T.G.Arun was in the chair.
Representatives of the NGOs and Microfinance Institutions were the speakers in the third technical session. There was an active interaction after the presentations.
Photo: 1.Dr.T.M.Thomas Issac, Finance Minister, Kerala, inaugurating the International Conference on Microfinance and Poverty Eradication at SCMS-COCHIN on December 7. Dr.G.P.C.Nayar (fourth from right), Chairman, SCMS Group, Dr.T.G.Arun (sixth from right), Professor, University of Central Lancashire, UK, Dr.Satta Tadeo (extreme right), Associate Professor, Institute of Finance Management, Tanzania, Mr.Samuel Ammin, Lecturer, University of Cape Coast, Ghana (second from right), Dr.V.Raman Nair (seventh from right), director, SCMS-COCHIN, and Dr.R.Ram Mohan (third from right), Director, Research and training, SCMS-COCHIN, are also in the picture.
SCMS-COCHIN and Byrraju Foundation, Secunderabad, have entered into an agreement to take up joint ventures in Research, Consultancy and Extension activities.
Byrraju Foundation is a non-profit organization set up by the Chairman of Satyam Computers, Shri B.Ramalinga Raju, and his family members, in the memory of their father Byrraju Satyanarayana Raju. The foundation is engaged in creating rural transformation, building progressive, self-reliant communities by bridging the gap in the services provided in the villages in areas of health, environment, sanitation, education, adult literacy and skill development. The foundation operates in the villages in Andhra Pradesh.
Effective government intervention with people participation is very much the need of the hour to save Kuttanad from the present grave crisis faced by the farmers, says a report of the study made by SSTM students.
The paddy fields extending to nearly 500 square km. in Alappuzha district of Kerala had, till recently, been known as the ‘rice bowl of Kerala.’ Farming in Kuttanad is unique because the entire tract is lying below the sea level. This is the only place in the world where paddy is being cultivated below the sea level. Farming is the main livelihood of the 1.8 million people living in this region.
During the past few years, agricultural production in the area had declined considerably. Today paddy cultivation in this area has turned out to be uneconomical for many reasons. Farmers are not able either to conduct timely cultural operations or to market their produces to make a reasonable return on investment. The entire farming community is in a deplorable plight, fighting for survival.
It was against this background that the MBA students of SSTM had undertaken a social project focusing on various issues related to agricultural production, especially paddy cultivation in Kuttanad. A cross-sectional study was conducted among the farmers, both small and large, to identify the various issues involved. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Interactions with government agricultural officers and officials of the local bodies helped to get a clear picture of the real problems faced by the farmers.
The major findings of the study are as follows:
Paddy cultivation can be made profitable in Kuttanad only by resorting to large-scale farming. The unresolved issues with trade union activists in regard to mechanization and modernization of agricultural practices as well as wage-related issues need to be sorted out before any progress could be made.
The support from the government, both technical and financial, is inadequate. Price offered for the produce by supporting agencies is inadequate. The poor quality of the seeds supplied by government agencies result in poor yield.
The elder generation of farmers is losing interest in farming on account of the serious problems remaining unresolved. The new generation has completely neglected farming because of the hard labour, unionization among workers and high cost of cultivation.
Obstruction to natural flow of rivers due to unscientific construction of bridges and canals in the area is destroying the ecological balance and in turn agriculture.
The study was conducted by George Kurian, Harshad Rasheed, Dilna Elza R., Devi R., Deepthi D. and Fathima Nazir R.
Quality of life in Cochin City admirable
— SCENSER study report.
The quality of life of the residents in Cochin City is admirable, according to the findings of the study made recently by SCMS Center for Socio-Economic Research (SCENSER).
Quality is all about ‘being, belonging and becoming’ as identified by Quality of Life Research Unit of University of Toronto. While ‘being’ is concerned with individual aspects, ‘belonging’ represents social aspects and ‘becoming’ is part of goal setting. Quality of life thus embraces both subjective and objective features.
The study examined various parameters of quality of life like relationship with neighbors, support from neighbors, safety and security, religious support, recreational facilities, entertainment activities, family get together, educational facilities, accessibility to hospitals and libraries etc.
It was found that social support, including support from religious leaders, was a major factor helping to maintain the quality. However, a topic of major concern for the city dwellers was with regard to public safety. Some of the recent incidents of crime in the city had triggered a feeling of insecurity among the residents.
It is important to create more social opportunities in order to improve quality of life, the study revealed. The government can take the role of a facilitator in this respect by providing an appropriate conducive environment.
The study was coordinated by Prof. Radha Thevannoor, Director, SCENSER. Dr.N.Rajagopal, Associate Professor and Dr.Abey Philip, Asst. Professor were the members of the team. MBA students were involved in data collection.