The global financial crisis is envisaged to have impacted some Southern countries, including India, less severely than most countries in the North. India's expected economic growth of over nine per cent was brought down to just over five per cent. In the aftermath of the crisis, a positive growth figure itself sent optimistic signals. But in a country where nearly 80 per cent of the population – mostly in rural areas – lives on under US$2 a day with a high level of social and economic vulnerability, the effects of the crisis threaten to push many into deprivation. Yet, scattered evidence suggests the emergence of savings-led self-help groups for women amongst the poorest and socially excluded communities to overcome financial vulnerabilities. Grounded in participatory methods, the focal point this is the individual rural woman driving the well-being and the poverty agenda. The paper considers if there are lessons that can be drawn from this micro-level shift for the larger global crisis.
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