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CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONIntroductionMicrofinance is defined as any activity that includes the provision of financial services such as credit, savings, and insurance to low income individuals which fall just above the nationally defined poverty line, and poor individuals which fall below that poverty line, with the goal of creating social value. The creation of social value includes poverty alleviation and the broader impact of improving livelihood opportunities through the provision of capital for micro enterprise, and insurance and savings for risk mitigation and consumption smoothing. A large variety of sectors provide microfinance in India, using a range of microfinance delivery methods. Since the ICICI Bank in India, various actors have endeavored to provide access to financial services to the poor in creative ways. Governments also have piloted national programs, NGOs have undertaken the activity of raising donor funds for on-lending, and some banks have partnered with public organizations or made small inroads themselves in providing such services. This has resulted in a rather broad definition of microfinance as any activity that targets poor and low-income individuals for the provision of financial services. The range of activities undertaken in microfinance include group lending, individual lending, the provision of savings and insurance, capacity building, and agricultural business development services. Whatever the form of activity however, the over

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