It’s been two years since the Andhra Pradesh impasse, but there are no signs of recovery; across delivery models, slowdown continues. A general skepticism persists, a tarnished reputation remains, and funding channels remain clogged. Forced to grapple with these realities and disrepute, the sector has been looking at ways of rebuilding its image, brick by brick. The recovery phase continues to be arduous with little progress taking place this past year: the Microfinance Bill is still pending and albeit microfinance remaining on the priority-sector list, banks have been hesitant to lend. Despite these difficulties and challenges, positive efforts are being made by key stakeholders to strengthen the core of microfinance, bring back the ethic in practice, enable greater transparency in governance and pricing, and collect evidence on good practices. Sector associations worked for a unified Code of Conduct; lenders pushed for Code of Conduct assessments; efforts have been made to reinvigorate the SHG programme. The Government and RBI push for greater financial inclusion is also beginning to show some outcomes in opening up more rural branches, appointing Business Correspondents and opening no frills accounts. These significant initiatives among others continue to move the sector forward, fortifying its pillars.

The Microfinance Indi a Summit 2012 “Reconstructing the Sector: Brick by Brick” will focus on the present sectoral context where a need has emerged to reflect on the past experiences and current models and assess the rationale for redesigning the architecture and revitalizing the economic system. Across the course of the two-day Summit, thought leaders and eminent speakers will deliberate and examine the how of reconstruction. Challenges of restoring the sector’s credibility; mechanisms for catalyzing greater flow of funds; issues in last mile connectivity; and impact of regulation themes will be discussed across the two days. The much-anticipated State of the Sector Report and India Social Performance Report will be released at the Inaugural Session.

The Microfinance India Awards, instituted by ACCESS with support of HSBC, will be held at the end of Day One of the Summit. These distinguished awards are presented to remarkable institutions that have positively shaped the sector through their quality growth, exemplary performance, and transparent governance. As in the past, the Knowledge Fair will be organized during the Summit, providing a prominent space for organizations to showcase their products and services and network with industry stakeholders.

We are privileged to have, as special guests at the Inaugural Session, the Shri P. Chidambaram, Hon’ble Union Finance Minister, Government of India and Shri D.K. Mittal, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance. It is also an honor to have at the Valedictory Address Dr. Arvind Mayaram, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.